West Virginia Politics WV Elections 2020

Interview with Steve Harris-Republican for Sheriff-Jefferson County West Virginia

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Steve Harris-Article

Good morning. Welcome to this edition of the Richard Urban show where we present news and views from God’s point of view. I’m your host, Richard Urban. Today, we’re very happy to have Steve Harris on. He’s running for Sheriff of Jefferson County. So please introduce yourself.

Good morning, thank you Mr. Urban for this opportunity to speak to your listeners.

My name is Steve Harris and I’m a candidate for Jefferson County Sheriff. I’m a native born and raised West Virginia candidate and my wife and I first moved to Jefferson County back in 1990.

I am a retired law enforcement professional and I am the candidate with the most total years of experience as well as the most years of experience in a variety of specialty skills.

I’m also a constitutional candidate for sheriff, which means that I will protect citizens, constitutional rights to and including the Second Amendment, the Sheriff of Jefferson County must be professional fair, honest and have integrity, all of which are the backbone of my candidacy. The sheriff must be friendly, approachable, with the residents.

Richard: you’ve been in the county since 1990. I know that you had quite a bit of experience in different counties, like in Prince George’s County and other places. So what prompted you, what are the main reason or three main reasons you’re running at this time, what prompted you to run right now?

“One of the biggest areas that I have a problem with is the erosion between law enforcement and the community. That has bothered me.

I was born back in Harrison County, West Virginia. I always had the utmost respect for law enforcement. There was a lot of communication, back then it was much different. You didn’t have all the patrols inside of a cruiser that you do now. Basically, that was the very beginning to community policing. We didn’t know it.

So my thing is I wanna restore the communication, the understanding and the support of the community along with law enforcement. We need to be a partner in this fight against crime. It’s not a one-man job, it’s the entire community. And one of my things within my plans within my community policing, is that as the sheriff, I will get out into the community. Come to you, get out of my chair at that office, come out to you and meet with you in your community, and I will ask you, What’s the problems and we’ll have real discussion of what the problems have been, in the past, what the problems are today and what we see as the roles to fix it for tomorrow.

Richard: I live up here in Shannondale, and usually we don’t see anybody around. Not that that’s bad, necessarily. As far as the patrols. How would this work in say in Shannondale, for instance? How would this kind of liaison work? What would you do?

Well, I would find somebody within the community itself, to act directly as liaison between me and the community itself. whether that’s a person that would step forward to want to do that, or the people of Shannondale say, “Hey let’s get behind this guy, or this lady and see if they will step up and be a partner with the sheriff and to ensure that we need to get the things done in Shannondale that we want.”

I live in Shannondale. I know exactly what you’re talking about.

I noticed on your materials, you were saying you wouldn’t enforce any unconstitutional Red Flag laws or Second Amendment type laws like that, should they ever be passed. Is that right?

That’s correct and everybody out there can hold me to that. That is a promise. There are a number of counties, or not in so much counties within our state, but counties surrounding us, that have put those kind of laws on the books. Then cities. I don’t see that happening right now, here in West Virginia. I know there’s a push for it, but as the county sheriff I’m a constitutional officer.

My obligation is not only to enforce the laws of our state, and our county and our country but it’s also to ensure that people’s constitutional rights are not violated.

Now there’s a conversation as to whether or not, the Governor, well that was an unconstitutional act and this and that. Law enforcement as a whole, whether you’re a sheriff, a deputy sheriff, a state trooper, a city police officer. There’s a lot of discretion in law enforcement. And a lot of times it’s up to the leader of that particular agency to determine what discretion gets used. We recently here in Jefferson County, had two areas that were shut down, the Sheriff’s Department shut them down under what they thought was the Governor’s order. I would not have shut those two places down. And I’ll tell you why. The reason is because you could have gone into those situations knowing the COVID-19 problem that we have, and you could have put in play situations where those people could have done social distancing, while still being able to operate.

Richard: So those were business closures of a restaurant or a small business, or what was that?

“Well, well, one had to do with a weapons range where people could go and shoot. The other one had to do with a golf course. Those were the two businesses that I spoke of a particular they were in a paper, there were a lot of people up in arms about why those were shut. As the sheriff, even though weather or not the order by the governor is a constitutional or not, dependent on what people felt. I would not have shut those businesses down. I would have sent the deputies out there or I would have gone out there myself, when I received complaints or the knowledge if they were still operating. I would have gone out and had a discussion with those business owners and said, “Look I’m a pro-business as anybody in this world and I know that there’s a lot of business out here. That this shutting down is not only going to hurt their business, it’s gonna kill their business. It’s gonna affect our personal lives. So, let’s figure up a plan here together, so that you can continue to operate under the social distancing Laws and the plans that we have in effect, and not put you in a bind that is going to cause a spread of this COVID-19, and it’s also not gonna put you in a financial bind as well.

Richard: you were talking about discretion. I was down at the Moulton Park on Memorial Day and it’s supposedly closed. People were enjoying the park. Obviously, I’m glad to see there weren’t any offices there arresting people. However, it all the picnic tables were removed. The point is, I think there is discretion.  Somebody decided, people shouldn’t congregate in the park. Well, if you took it to an extreme, the sheriff could say, “hey we’re gonna enforce it, where you go down to the park and arrest the people who are congregating. Do you know where I’m going with this?

“Yeah, exactly, and I don’t think that serves a purpose. I just don’t see going out and locking people up because they went to the park and I don’t think that’s what the governor of our state or any state truly wanted to have happen.

If you had officers out there just simply ask the people, “Look, can you please keep at least six foot between you?” you approach it from a different aspect. You don’t go out there and go locking people up for this stuff.

It’s one thing now, if somebody is just blatantly doing something, they’re not keeping distance between people, they’re not wearing masks, they’re not doing anything at all to stop the spread of COVID-19. Then sometimes your hands get tired, but I don’t think going out and closing somebody’s business, down.

You can even turn it over to the health department in some of these cases, if it’s a health department issue. But it’s important, I think for the sheriff to use that discretion.

Richard: when you compare your candidacy to your opponent, I know you have an opponent, Mr. Hansen in the primary, what is different? Why should we choose you versus your opponent?

Well, I’ll start right off with Shannondale. I have been a long-time person that has endorsed another way off of this mountain. My opponent now says that he supports another way off of this mountain as well. I was the one, I pushed it out. We’re in our second home here. By the way, in Shannondale. We live off of gate one. But our first home was up off of gate four. My wife and I stood out there on our front deck and watched the wildfire across the mountain coming across that mountain from the Virginia side down coming down toward the Shannondale club and lake. That was a pretty scary situation.  Every year while we lived up there to the back of us was state Park land and every hunting season, we would have the fire trucks up there back in the woods trying to put out fires from folks who would be back there hunting and throwing their cigarette down.

So, sadly, but it’s a fact, if we have a major disaster, or a major fire up here there are people at some point that are trapped, and cannot get off of this mountain. I don’t want that to be a fact. I view public safety as just that. Public safety. I have a responsibility to everybody in this county to ensure that they are provided as much safety from the department, as well as from, means safety of getting in and out of their communities in case a disaster as possible…

My opponent likes to make an issue of the fact that he’s been a deputy sheriff for 20 plus years here in Jefferson County.

I was not a deputy sheriff for 20 some years. I have 40 years of experience but not as a deputy sheriff in Jefferson County. I did work for Berkeley County after I retired the first time for two years as a court Bailiff.

I grew up here in West Virginia, so I understand West Virginia law enforcement having a cousin that was a deputy sheriff and having the county sheriff, one of the best friends of our family, that was like an uncle to me as I grew up. I have worked alongside, and been best friends. I’ve ridden with the Blue Nights Association, which is here in West Virginia, which is all made up of law enforcement people.

So what I bring to the table different is that I bring here and not only an understanding of West Virginia law enforcement. I also bring an understanding of other ways to get things done instead of the same old, same old things the way it has been. If my opponent, who in fact likes to claim that he was either the number one or number two guy, at times under the sheriff, if there was those issues that he wanted to get done, he sure certainly had the opportunity while he was a deputy sheriff, to intervene and take care of some of those situations. I don’t see him having done that.

The big difference to me in between me and him, is the way we’ve seen within the community.

I certainly care about the way my image [is]. I care about the law enforcement profession. I like to talk with people, have conversation with them, and I am not seen as a person of arrogance or bullying and I don’t ever wanna be seen that way.

I’ll be the same guy as your sheriff that I am sitting here right now.

But I think our experience level, is the main difference. I’ve got a lot of experience in a lot of different fields. My experience level comes from multiple states, not just from Jefferson County, West Virginia.

Richard: as we’re drawing to a close anything else you’d like to share with the voters, as they’re approaching June 9th.

“I would just simply ask them to keep in touch with me on Facebook or my email…

I think if people could check into my web page.

And that’s as, they could check into my Facebook page, which is Steve Harris for Jefferson County Sheriff, share and my email, and all that’s listed right on all Those spots.

I would just simply say that I feel that I’m the absolute best candidate for this job. I’m concerned about the drug problem in this county and I have a drug investigator experience. I’ve got a grandson that still goes to the school. My kids grew up going to these schools, we need to give them a safe place to go to school, a safe place to live, and I’m the man to do that job.

Richard: thank you very much, thank you for joining us today. So everyone do vote on June 9th. Also, we’ve got three Supreme Court justices who will be elected then and the magistrates and of course all the primaries on both sides.

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