August 14, 2014COUNTY — The Sept. 9 Primary Election will determine who will be the Republican candidate in the race for Carroll County sheriff in November and, since there is no Democratic candidate for this position, whoever wins the Republican primary will also be the only candidate for sheriff on the ballot in the Nov. 11 general election.
This year there are two Republican candidates – Shawn Coope (R-Wolfeboro) and Domenic Richardi (R-Conway). Coope is the newcomer in the race. Richardi is running for re-election after unseating Wolfeboro's Chris Conley in 2012.
Each candidate was sent a questionnaire. The answers printed below have been edited only for style.
Why are you running for election as Carroll Country Sheriff?
There are many reasons that led me to this decision, two of which I believe make me the right person for the job. First and foremost I care immensely about my community and my family, friends, and neighbors that live within it. Second is that I know I can make a difference.
The people of New Hampshire have allowed me to serve them as a law enforcement officer for about 30 years now and it's been an honor. Along the way I have gained a tremendous amount of experience and have been the beneficiary of training at the highest levels of my profession. The end result is that I'm clearly the most qualified candidate in this race and I'm prepared to lead our sheriff's department from day one. I'm looking forward to making it the model agency in regards to transparency, efficiency and performance.
As a candidate for elected office, I'm aware that by asking people for their vote I'm asking for their trust and I do not take that lightly. The residents of Carroll County should expect that I hold the staff of the Carroll County Sheriff's Department, including myself, to the highest moral, ethical and professional standards and they should expect that to be apparent immediately.
What qualifications, qualities or experience would you bring to this position?
I believe that the most important qualifications I possess as a candidate for sheriff are the same that would allow me to be successful as a sheriff. I know that I'm a very fortunate person, one that was taught from a young age the importance of honesty and integrity, allowing my life to be guided by a strong moral compass and the importance of making sound decisions.
While working as the executive officer of a police department I employed the concept that if you hired good people, you could train them to be good police officers. Seemingly, no amount of professional training could overcome poor character. These qualities allow me to be considered as a candidate and will form the foundation necessary for success.
In reference to my qualifications and experience, I'm proud to say that I have been serving as a New Hampshire law enforcement officer for about 30 years now, a relationship I hope to continue as the next sheriff of Carroll County. As a full-time certified police officer I have gained extensive experience and training as a patrol officer, patrol supervisor, agency executive officer and acting chief of police. I have prosecuted well over a thousand cases as a district court prosecutor, received national recognition as a criminal investigator and once served as president of the Rockingham County Law Enforcement Officers Association.
Most recently I was assigned to the New Hampshire Department of Safety as a crime and terrorism liaison under the direction of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Currently I'm in the process of fulfilling a personal service contract with the U.S. Marshall's Service. I hold a secret clearance and just last week returned from Orono, Maine, where I attended and successfully completed the FBI School of Executive Command Management.
What do you consider the three major issues the Sheriff's Department is facing?
I think that I speak for most folks in that I do not mind paying my fair share of taxes as long as I know that it's clearly necessary and that I'm receiving good value in return. I could not help but notice that our sheriff's department serves a population of around 48,000 people with an operating budget of around $2.6 million. This figure is significantly higher when compared to other counties such as the Belknap County Sheriff's Department, which manages to serve a population of 63,000 with a budget of just $1.9 million. Grafton County serves a population of 82,000 with a budget of $2.3 million, Strafford County serves a population of 124,000 with a budget of around $2.2 million and Cheshire reports a budget of about $1.8 million while serving a population of 76,000.
These comparisons raise serious questions about Sheriff Richardi's ability or willingness to manage our money in a responsible manner, therefore I would consider the budget as one of the major issues concerning our Sheriff's Department.
Performance should always be mentioned as an issue by any candidate – simply, is our sheriff's department doing its job? Is it allocating its resources based on current public safety needs as opposed to operating in the same manner it has for the past 20 years?
A good place to start is with its most basic responsibilities, for a sheriff's department here in New Hampshire those things include the service of civil process, prisoner transports and the processing of arrest warrants. Again under Sheriff Richardi's leadership these numbers have fallen and clearly underperform when compared to the sheriff departments of the counties listed above.
A third issue of concern and the most pressing issue facing our sheriff's department as well as all of us is the issue of a growing heroin epidemic. This issue is unprecedented and is in position to alter the quality of life of all of us. Our sheriff's department must be part of the solution and lead the way with an aggressive response by sharing resources with our law enforcement partners here in the county and across the state.
Unfortunately, I have not heard Sheriff Richardi mentioned this once. As a candidate for sheriff I'm already in the process of completing a multifaceted response to include drug resistance education for our youth, an aggressive law enforcement plan utilizing every available resource and a locally operated treatment program for offenders. Things like this are hard, but they should be expected from your sheriff. I look forward to this challenge.
What have you done and what will you do to address these challenges if you are elected?
To address these issues will require an extensive amount of review, planning, management and most importantly leadership. As a candidate I was recently surprised that no one could tell me when our sheriff's department was subject to a performance review or if it ever has. So I figure this will be a good place to start.
Utilizing all resources, both internal and external the results should provide an accurate snapshot of what is working, what is consistent with industry standards and what is returning good value to us, the taxpayers. Services and initiatives that meet these three benchmarks will be continued, ones that do not will be fixed, or if deemed to be unfixable they will be eliminated. Again these things are hard, but change in any agency is necessary for improvement and is quite frankly the job of your sheriff.
Have you held elected office before?
The answer to this question is no. It was and remains an interest consistent with my lifelong dedication to public service. Like most folks, family and professional responsibilities always took center stage. Like most anything else in life, timing is everything and I simply believe this is my time.
Please provide any additional information you wish to share with voters?
I live in Wolfeboro alongside my wife Janine. We share our lives with our two boys, Brent and Mitchell, and I would be in big trouble if I did not mention our dog Maddie.
I'm certain that we live our lives like most everyone else, driving our children from place to place and doing our best to raise them the best way possible. We believe that a big component of that consists of teaching them the importance of giving back. Janine and I try to lead by example in this area I coach numerous youth sports to include soccer at the youth and high school levels. Janine coaches track and field at both the youth and middle school levels. Janine volunteers time with the local PTO and I have served on numerous boards to include the Child Advocacy of Carroll Country.
Why are you running for re-election?
I have dedicated my almost 25 years of law enforcement career in Carroll County. Almost 20 years of service has been with the Carroll County Sheriff's Office. With my experience I campaigned in 2012 with a platform on specific issues that needed attention.
As your sheriff for the past 18 months I have been able to address and remedy these issues. I also have begun some much-needed improvements to our regional dispatch center for the entire EMS and law enforcement community in Carroll County. These improvements will address the all volume needs as well as setting up an infrastructure so that your local police departments will have more of the information they need to be safe and effectively serve their citizens.
I have continued the K-9 Program. This is a needed resource as the area is less two K-9 teams at this time.
I have a committed interest on how the Sheriff's Office performs and is perceived in the law enforcement and public communities. I want to continue with the forward progress that the Office has been able to make since being elected your sheriff 18 months ago.
It is my wish to continue to insure that you the citizens of Carroll County receive the best possible services from your Sheriff's Office.
What qualifications, qualities or experience would you bring to this position?
I strive to be a professional, dedicated and respected individual in the law enforcement and public communities. I began my career at Conway Police Department serving four years as patrolman before going to the Carroll County Sheriff's Office. During my more than 17 years at the Sheriff's Office I rose through the ranks of deputy, corporal, sergeant, and lieutenant.
I was elected Carroll County sheriff in 2012.
I have, with transparency, completed two annual budget cycles as well as a union contract negotiations. I have been thoroughly involved in all areas of hiring personnel. As sheriff, I am involved in all aspects at the Sheriff's Office and continue to be in uniform and available to do whatever is necessary to get the job done.
My entire career has been within this county, including part-time work with the Effingham, Freedom, Madison, and Tamworth Police Departments. This allowed me to continue to have a very good working knowledge of law enforcement in the area. I have restored very good working relationships with all of the law enforcement agencies within the county and beyond.
What do you consider the three major issues that the Sheriff's Department is facing?
Other than our always-present responsibilities to keep the communities safe and the rights of the citizens protected, there are no other major issues that we are facing
I campaigned in 2012 to restore unused resources that were available from the Sheriff's Office, such as the K-9 team, traffic accident mapping, and diagramming. These have all been restored as services to the citizens of Carroll County
I have returned the fiscal responsibility and transparency to the Sheriff's Office.
I have returned available assistance that is needed to all area law enforcement agencies from the Sheriff's Office.
I have an open communication with county commission and delegation, to insure that the citizens receive the services, resources and safety from the Carroll County Sheriff's Office while being fiscally responsible.
What have you done or will do to address these challenges if you are re-elected?
Since taking Office in 2012 I have improved the prior issues and I will continue to be professional, transparent, and fiscally responsible. I will continue to have good working relations with all agency leaders and county and state entities.
The Carroll County Sheriff's Office will continue to move forward.
Have you held political office before?
I have not held office prior to being elected in 2012 as sheriff. I feel it is a great honor to be the sheriff of Carroll County. I have no further aspirations for any other office.
Please provide any additional information you wish to share with voters.
I am 54 years old and married to Penny for 33 years in September. We have three adult children and a 10-month-old granddaughter. I am veteran of the U.S. Air Force.
It would be my honor and privilege to continue to serve as your sheriff. I ask for your vote on Sept. 9. Thank you all for your support.