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Ada County Sheriff Matt Clifford may have been nominated by the Ada County Commissioners, but he has yet to get voter approval.
In November, residents of Ada County will have a choice between Clifford, the Republican nominee, and Democratic nominee Victor McCraw to lead the state’s largest law enforcement agency. This is a special election after former sheriff Steve Bartlett abruptly resigned last year about a year after being re-elected, triggering the process that nominated Clifford.
Over the past year, BoiseDev has interviewed both contestants. You can read more about them, in alphabetical order here:
Finding ways to keep up with Ada County’s rapid growth while pursuing the agency’s continuous improvement is a major goal for Clifford if voters decide to let him keep his seat.
Clifford said that even amid national criticism of law enforcement that has spread across the country following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, he was proud to see how county d ‘Ada supported her department. He says the agency has several policies that put them “ahead of the curve” on improving community relations, including strict hiring standards, de-escalation training for officers, and a crisis response team. crisis with a clinician paired with a mental health worker. -related calls.
“We have built a culture that is centered around service to the county and the community and working well with others inside and outside of our community and I want to make sure we can keep moving forward by as an agency and improve ourselves and address some of the issues, like growth, that are coming quickly to our county and make sure that as a law enforcement agency we provide a product that people believe and that people trust,” he told BoiseDev.
Clifford spent his entire career with the Ada County Sheriff’s Office, starting as a Jail Deputy in 2000. He eventually worked his way up to Patrol Deputy, Patrol Sergeant, K-9 Manager, and became a member of the prisoner transport team before being appointed. Eagle Police Chief in July 2019.
There are several ways Clifford hopes to approach growth in Ada County. With large developments on the outskirts of the county, such as Avimor to the north and booming Kuna to the south, he plans to create a special inmate transportation program. This would keep officers on the ground instead of wasting time traveling from the confines of the county to the jail to book suspects.
But, he said, the most important priority the county should pursue right now is building a new jail to accommodate the growing population. He backs the county as it seeks a bond to fund its construction in November.
“The crime rate may not be going up, but the number of people is going up, so the building you’re holding that percentage of people in isn’t big enough,” he said. “You cannot accommodate the number of people. We really need it now.
McCraw says Ada County needs a sheriff with nationwide experience to handle the spike in crime that can accompany rapid growth.
In the mid-1980s, McCraw started as an assistant with the Arizona State Troopers and spent the next three decades with the department. He eventually rose to the rank of captain, with stints as district commander in the west end of suburban Phoenix, paramedic supervisor, state police training commander, and major events security commander. where he oversaw security for the Arizona Cardinals as well as events like President Obama’s. start address at Arizona State University.
He retired from the Arizona Department of Public Safety in 2014 and took a position as the Idaho Peace Officer Standards and Training Officer (Idaho POST), where he oversaw training and the certification of hundreds of police officers each year. McCraw left the organization in 2018 and has consulted nationally on law enforcement issues, organizational performance and culture as well as other topics for clients such as the Police Bureau of Portland, private companies and other government agencies.
McCraw says this national perspective is crucial for the Ada County Sheriff’s Office to meet the growing needs of the community.
“We need someone in this position who has seen it, been there, done it and knows what to do and has my performance improvement mindset,” he said. -he declares. “…I don’t know where all the employees of the Sheriff’s Office are from, but I do know that the sheriff named is 22 years old in Ada County.” He never saw the problems coming. He speculates on what it might take and what those issues might be.
First and foremost, he said if elected, he would put the sheriff’s office through a full performance review to determine where the office needs to improve. To accommodate the growth, he said Ada County needs to go beyond just “increased scrutiny” and instead use data-driven approaches to ensure patrols are focused in areas. those most likely to result in arrests that will make the community safer. It is somehow unsure at this time whether Ada County needs to expand the jail or not. But, he said, the sheriff should work with the Ada County District Attorney to determine what types of arrests and criminal investigations will have the greatest impact on public safety, instead of just ‘low-hanging fruit’ against low-level criminals, like petty drug addicts and traffickers who will only take up jail space and cost taxpayers money.
“People think Democrats are soft on crime and absolutely not, but we need to make sure the people we have in prison, and with a large population, we very much need a bigger prison, but if you’re not very diligent with how you “do this, you’re just going to fill the biggest prison,” he said. If you keep doing business the way you always have, you’ll just fill it up. I can’t tell the prosecutor what to do, but I can work with them on how they do business so we can use our prison responsibly and protect the right things for the right reasons that impact our community. . ”