The role of Lincoln County Sheriff is up for election this year. The candidates are incumbent Roby Bowe and Libby Police Officer Darren Short, both Republicans. The Western News emailed both candidates an identical list of questions. Their responses, lightly edited for style, are published below.
What motivates you to run for Lincoln County Sheriff?
Roby Bowe: As your current Lincoln County Sheriff, my motivation comes from working with my team over the past seven years to ensure that all people are treated fair and just. With a total of 28 years of law enforcement experience with Lincoln County, I have formed great relationships with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to help protect Lincoln County citizens. I’m also inspired by continuing to help solve the current issues that the county is facing, the drug epidemic, mental health closures, and the overcrowding of the Lincoln County detention facility. I believe with all my experience in law enforcement I will help solve these issues. I also still get excited taking bad people to jail.
Darren Short: I grew up in Libby and truly love Lincoln County and want to see it as a safe place to live and raise a family. I have been an active part of the county my whole life and a volunteer since 1983 when I joined the Igniters Car Club. I started with Libby Volunteer Ambulance in 1994 and became involved with David Thompson Search and Rescue in 1996 and am still a committed member. I know the struggles the communities are facing and want to be an active part of helping solve those problems. I still feel the same issues are facing Lincoln County that we were facing when I ran the write in campaign and almost won in 2014.
What can you offer that my opponent cannot?
Roby Bowe: Experience, experience, experience: seven years as the Lincoln County Sheriff; 28 years with Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office; nine years as patrol deputy; four years as sergeant; five years as lieutenant; three years as captain; coordinating large-scale searches; Peace Officer Standard Training Certificate; Intermediate Certificate; Advanced Certificate; Supervisory Certificate; Montana Executive Leadership Course; Executive Command College; Field Training Officer School; First Line Supervisor; SAR-TEC Certified; SAR-TEC One, Two and Three; Small Department Response; SWAT Training; Supervisor SWAT School; First Responder Certified; 30 years member of David Thompson Search and Rescue; multiple firearms certified.
Darren Short: When I take office, I will be a full time working Sheriff dedicated to the needs of all the citizens of Lincoln County. I plan to have an open relationship with the people I serve. I do have a side business but it is right next to my home and people frequently stop by when I am not on shift with concerns and problems that are law-enforcement related. I have a very diverse background and feel that I have some insight into the challenges that this county is facing. Not only the current challenges of drugs and the crimes that we are currently facing in the county but also more diverse challenges that Lincoln County could possibly face in the future.
What is your vision for the Sheriff’s Office?
Roby Bowe: To carry on a good working relationship with all emergency services in Lincoln County. To continue to provide high-level investigations into crimes that will assist with the prosecution of criminals in the county. My staff and I will continue to maintain a working relationship with the County Attorney’s Office and the local judges.
Darren Short: I will have an open and honest relationship with the residents of Lincoln County. I will improve the prosecution of criminal cases by working closely with the County Attorney’s Office and department personnel. I will facilitate inter-agency response among county emergency service agencies and law enforcement agencies to enhance service to the citizens of the county. I will also have “Town Hall” meetings to address the needs and concerns of the citizens of Lincoln County.
Which of your accomplishments, in law enforcement or other aspects of life, can best attest to what you can offer Lincoln County residents as Sheriff?
Roby Bowe: One of my biggest accomplishments is the opportunity to proudly serve the citizens for the past 28 years. During this time, I’ve had a big part in growing your Sheriff’s Office by hiring great personnel, that have been put it the right position. I’ve also brought technological advancements, such as an advanced 911 system for dispatch that provides a safer community for everyone. I have been fiscally responsible with taxpayers’ money by keeping under budget and eliminating or combining programs that cost too much money.
Darren Short: There are many things in my life that I am proud of, but sometimes I have difficulty talking about what I have done. I’ve been volunteering in numerous ways and in organizations throughout my life. I have been able to help people in countless ways. I am also very pleased with what I’ve been able to accomplish in the numerous benefits and fundraisers that I’ve organized or participated in. I have been involved in countless investigations throughout my career that were very fulfilling. None of the things I have done could have been accomplished without the support of Debbie, my wife of 22 years, and our families.
If you are elected, what are your top priorities?
Roby Bowe: My top priorities as the Lincoln County Sheriff: I will continue to work closely with a citizens group and other elected officials to come up with ideas on expanding the Lincoln County detention facility. I will also continue to battle the drug epidemic and the mental health crisis, and continue providing quality training and tools for the Sheriff’s Office staff to provide continued services to our communities.
Darren Short: My top priorities will be addressing the local drug problem and improving the prosecution of cases by working closely with the Lincoln County Attorney’s Office. Another focus will be in helping facilitate the coordination of all emergency service agencies to improve inter-agency responses. I am also aware of the fiscal responsibility that comes with being Sheriff and I will do everything in my power to be accountable to the taxpayers.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with Lincoln County residents?
Roby Bowe: The faith that you, the citizens of Lincoln County, have placed in me these past seven years is very appreciated. The faith you’ve shown in me is my motivation to continue to provide you with a professional law enforcement organization. I have total faith in the Sheriff’s Office employees to make good decisions that will help the citizens out in a time of need or crisis. I look forward to continue to serve the communities of Lincoln County.
Darren Short: The situation within Lincoln County as well as the nation has changed substantially through the years and the Sheriff’s Office needs to be ready and willing to adapt to the changes. Just because something was done a certain way in the past doesn’t mean it will continue to work. I feel that open and honest communication is key to our success and I would appreciate your support in the upcoming primary election. Please remember to exercise your right to vote on June 5.
Editor’s note: The primary election is Tuesday, June 5.