On Monday, James (Jim) McCrary, winner of the Republican nomination for Cedar County Sheriff, stopped by the Sun office for a get acquainted interview. He has no announced opponent in the general election, but he was to quick to point out that his election is not a “done deal.”
Q. What is your law enforcement experience?
I started working for the Stockton Police Department in 1988 as a patrol officer. I worked there for 13 years. The last three years I was Chief of Police.
When the City and the County got together with a contract, I started to work for the Sheriff’s Office. I was the chief investigator there for 11 years.
I worked with two drug task forces. I was an investigator with the Southwest Missouri Major Case Squad.
I’ve done basically everything you can do in law enforcement: bailiff, investigation, patrol, drug investigation. Basically I’ve been involved with investigating every kind of crime there is.
Q. Why did you decide to run for office?
I’ve got all that experience and knowledge that goes with it. I have the ability and willingness to do the job. I think that is what Cedar County needs.
Q. How are you going to run the sheriff’s office?
I’m going to work hard myself. I plan on taking up a lot of the slack if we are short handed. I’ll take calls myself. I’ll work a shift if somebody is off or sick.
I know there is a lot of administrative stuff that the sheriff has to do.
I plan on having some good qualified help to assist me with a lot of that administrative work.
One thing I hear everywhere I go. People ask: what are you going to do about the drugs? I’ve got a good background in drug investigation. I’m going to use that. We are going to hit the drugs hard. I know how to run a drug investigation. I know what it takes to make those cases. We’re going to put that to work.
Q. People are telling me that Caplinger is a hotbed.
Yes. It’s all over the county: Jerico Springs, El Dorado Springs.
Everyone is going to be trained. We are going to get the best training we can get.
Q. Do you have plans to be more visible and available to the citizens of Cedar County?
Yes, I do. I plan to make the rounds and visit with everybody as much as I can. I will attend El Dorado Springs City Council meetings some, as much as I can and Stockton City Council. I’ll probably be down at the County Commission meeting just about every Monday morning.
I’m sure it’s going to take me a little while to learn the ropes.
Any time somebody requests my presence, I’ll try to make it.
Q. How will you use technology to improve the performance of the sheriff’s office and, by extension, the deputies?
There are a lot of things available. We could get data terminals for the vehicles which is a computer that the officers have in their vehicle. They can run license checks. They can check a person. Do reports and log sheets. It’s going to be a matter of what is in the budget and what we can afford. It might save some money. It would save some time. The officers wouldn’t have to go to the office as much.
Q. Some police departments have gone digital so the crooks can’t monitor their radio traffic.
They’ve already got cell phones that they use quite a bit.
Q. The jail is big. What will you need to do about it?
I think the jail seems to be running pretty good right now. I believe they are pretty well filled to capacity most of the time now, from what I understand. There is a jail administrator up there now that I hear is doing a very good job. Hopefully, he will be able to keep that up and deal with the jail as much as possible without me having to worry about it too much.
Q. What about problem areas in the county? We already mentioned drugs.
It kinda moves around. We’ll have outbreaks of thefts in a certain area. Then it will be somewhere else. And the drugs I think are pretty widespread.
Q. They were stealing air conditioners.
I remember that. They stole one from my sister’s house just outside of town.
My main focus to begin with: I’m not going to try to make any huge changes, but I want the people to Cedar County to be able to depend on the Sheriff’s Office. If they call for a deputy, they are going to get a deputy. Thorough and prompt investigation of these crimes when they occur. If somebody calls in with a tip about drug information or whatever, that will be followed up on. We will generate a report, the action we took, the outcome of that action. And if the person wants to be contacted, we will even contact them to let them know what we found out. That way, people will know that we are doing something. When they call, we are taking some kind of action.
We will do a weekly report. If there is something extra, we will do a report on that. Somebody will be in charge of that. That will be their job.
I’m planning on putting more stuff on the Sheriff’s Office facebook page.
I’m going to run a professional, dependable office. I want to provide dependable and trusted service. That’s my goal to start with.
I’ll work something out to where this side of the county is covered as good as we can possibly cover it as well as the other side of the county.