November 2016 Treasure Valley Voters Guide

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Ada County Sheriff

Incumbent: Republican Stephen Bartlett Term: Four yearsSalary: $121, 381Ada County is Idaho’s largest county.Population: 434,211

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    Stephen Bartlett

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Biographical Information

This is your first election since being appointed. What have you done to connect with constituents and determine what they need from your office?

What are the three most important issues facing your office?

Idaho lawmakers set new standards this year for how sexual assault evidence kits are processed. Was the new law necessary, and how will it change how the county handles such kits?

What should counties and the legal system do to address the wave of heroin and prescription painkiller abuse seen in Idaho and across the U.S.?

What is your philosophy toward crime and the work the sheriff does?

Have you been convicted of, or pleaded guilty to, a misdemeanor or felony or had a withheld judgment? If so, what, when and where?

Have you or a company you owned filed bankruptcy? If so, when and where?

Age 48
Education B.A. Social Sciences
Civic involvement Board of Directors - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Idaho
Years living in Idaho 19
Family I am married and have two children, 2 and 4 years old.
Twitter page @ACSOBartlett
I have been a member of the Ada County Sheriff’s Office for 13 years and part of the law enforcement community in Idaho for nearly 20. Whether serving as the detective supervisor, a jail sergeant or City of Eagle Police Chief, I met people every day who helped guide my understanding of criminal justice in our community. I have attended city council and HOA meetings, National Night Out and public safety events for years where I have listened to community members talk about what is important to them and what they expect from the ACSO. Since deciding to run for Sheriff, I have participated in community forums and town hall meetings to continue those conversations as the next leader of Idaho’s largest law enforcement agency. I listen to what the public, our employees and our partners expect of me — and we provide information and communicate openly to maintain the community’s trust. From Facebook and Twitter to the ACSO website and blog, we share information about our agency and the people who work to make safer places for you to live, work and play each day. I welcome comments and questions any time at
1.Public safety – Our top priority is the safety of the communities we serve. As Ada County’s population grows, so do the demands placed on the ACSO and our partner law enforcement agencies. We have several major projects underway to ensure public safety: a new 911 emergency communications center, jail security updates, computer-aided dispatch upgrades and a new software system that will allow all emergency responders in Ada County to share records and critical law enforcement information in real-time. 2. Employee wellness – The physical, mental and emotional health of our employees is critical to our ability to serve the community. The daily stress many of our employees experience in their work puts them at significant risk for long-term physical and mental health issues. Our employees must be healthy in order to provide the level of service the community expects of them. Because of that, health and wellness programs within the ACSO are a priority. 3. Fiscal responsibility – The Sheriff’s Office $61 million budget represents a mandate for the ACSO to deliver the most distinguishable service in the most efficient manner. That is an awesome responsibility we take very seriously.
The new law codifies what we have been doing as a “best practice” already – which dictates the only reason not to submit an evidence kit is when a victim expressly asks us not to, or when our detectives determine no crime has been committed. Those standards are now clearly explained in Idaho Code. Historically, some law enforcement agencies declined to send the evidence kits to the Idaho State Police lab because ISP required a “reference sample” which is a separate DNA sample from the suspect in the case. Those reference samples are not always available. In the past, if our agency had evidence kits where we could not get a reference sample, we would eventually submit them to the FBI lab instead. The ISP lab changed its process in 2014, which allows a kit to be submitted without a reference sample as long as every effort is made to get one first. The new law standardizes the process across the state and requires ISP to submit results in 90 days to a DNA database – a useful investigative tool to identify repeat offenders. The new law also standardizes how law enforcement notifies victims about how evidence is submitted and cataloged and if the evidence is ever removed or destroyed.
We must continue to work together to understand the whole problem and seek innovative ways to do a better job on the areas we know reduce drug abuse in our community: intervention, education, and enforcement. Our work begins on the intervention and education end with our school resource officers and community information unit responsible for educating people about the realities of drugs in our area. The Ada County Sheriff’s narcotics investigators concentrate every day on finding and stopping the entry and availability of drugs like opioids in our community, whether that means street dealers or medical outlets that abuse the prescription system. Our misdemeanor probation officers work hard to connect clients with treatment that gives them the best chance to succeed and keeps them on track. We also fully support Ada County’s Drug Court, which emphasizes comprehensive treatment over incarceration for drug offenders who are willing to do the hard work to stay sober and lead a healthy, productive life.
Our mission is to make Ada County a safer place to live, work, and play every day. I consider our deputies problem solvers who often interact with people in crisis. My direction to them is to do what you can to help and keep everybody safe and to work with community members to figure out solutions before crisis happens. That philosophy runs through our whole agency and applies to all 650+ employees of the Sheriff’s Office. From the first 911 call into dispatch to a deputy interaction with the public to a resolution of a case in court to working with inmates to safely assimilate back into our community, members of the ACSO are all working toward the same goal. It is critical that we respond properly to each situation – helping people in crisis, caring for victims and arresting the bad guys. We need to make sure people who need to be in jail are there and others are appropriately supervised in the community. The fundamental job of sheriff is to uphold the Constitution, enforce state law and county code, and promote community safety. Managing every interaction to the best of our ability with respect and professionalism is how we do that.
I have never been charged with, convicted of or pleaded guilty to any misdemeanor or felony or had a withheld judgement.
I have not filed for bankruptcy or owned any company that has.