(Maryville) -- Time now on KMA News for another installment of "Meet the Candidates" featuring the candidates running in key races in the November general elections. Today, we feature the incumbent in the Nodaway County sheriff's race, Democrat Darren White.
White's public service career began in 1977, when he worked as a EMT with the Nodaway County Ambulance Service. He then joined the Nodaway County Sheriff's Office in 1985, while a student at Northwest Missouri State University. White then worked as an officer with the Plattsburg, Missouri Police Department for five years before he was elected sheriff in 2008, then reelected in 2012. White tells KMA News he's running for his third term in office because he loves his job.
"I feel like in the almost eight years I've been sheriff," said White, "I've really been able to impact and guide the sheriff's office in a great direction. I think we've accomplished a lot in eight years, and I'd like to keep moving forward."
During his tenure, the sheriff says his department has been effective in getting criminals off the streets.
"When I took office in 2009," he said, "I took over a jail that housed on average between five and maybe up to 10 people a day in jail. We now are housing anywhere between 25 to 35 on a daily average--sometimes more than that."
White believes instituting 24-hour patrols has made a difference in battling crime in the county.
"So now, instead of having criminals that say, 'hey, we have a four-hour window where there's nobody out there,'" said White, "our guys are out there all the time. Our guys are out moving around, they're watching what's going on, they're making contact with people--both good and bad--because we truly depend on information from our citizens to know what's going on in their specific part of the county."
White believes the county's crime problems remain the same--theft, vandalism, and drug abuse. But, he believes the three are intertwined. For that reason, White opposes any proposal to legalize marijuana or other narcotics.
"There's kind of a groundswell right now of people saying we should decriminalize drugs, that it's not really problem, it's a victimless crime," said the sheriff. "But, the reality is, there are victims. The people involved in the illegal drug use and trade are also the ones who are stealing from our citizens. They're the ones that are out there that are involved in traffic crashes with people, and we don't have a driver's license, they don't have insurance. We all pay for it. And, to say that it's a victimless crime, and should be decriminalized, is absolutely wrong."
In addition, White says his office will continue the DARE education program in local schools, as well as docudramas demonstrating the dangers of drinking and driving.
"A lot it is about education," said White. "A lot of it is about being out there, being seen, and enforcing the laws that we have. We really don't need new laws. We need to make sure we can enforce the ones we already have."
Thursday morning at 7:35, "Meet the Candidates" features White's opponent in the November 8th elections, Republican Randy Strong.