Letter: Concerned about Sheriff succession (Sept. 7, 2022)


Being a long-term resident here in Linn County, I have in the past generally left my concern for law enforcement leadership (sadly) to others who are much better acquainted than I am with those already involved in positions of leadership.

Recently, we have seen issues where law enforcement “professionals” have failed their communities greatly (Sandy Hook, Parkland, and recently, in Uvaldi, Texas).

For many years here in Linn County I have known that the standard procedure for the Linn County Sheriff’s office are for the presently serving sheriff to step down a few months before the election and choose his candidate to finish out his term. Then, as the election comes around, that person is running as an unelected encumbent.

Knowing that beating an incumbent in any office is always hard to do, I wonder if this suppresses those who would try to run for that position.

This may be good for us, as it may help flow in the Sheriff’s Office (or create a good old boys club) and a new person may upset the “apple cart,” but seeing the catastrophes that have happened to communities because of the ineptness of “professionals,” I am wondering if this has the effect of keeping new ideas out or removing our choice in choosing the best candidate for the position.

It sounds to me like this year both Michelle Duncan and Jon Raymond are both very experienced, with many years on the force. I don’t personally know which candidate is the best, but I am uncomfortable just allowing the former sheriff to choose the candidate for us.

We may have put ourselves in a position where only a catastrophe like Uvalde, Texas, puts us in a position where we can truly choose.

Just a thought, how important is this position to us and our children in the future.

Gary Bennett