Montgomery seeking 8th term as sheriff

Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery has announced he is seeking his eighth term in the 2018 election cycle.

Sheriff Montgomery says true to his campaign promise 14 years ago, he has ensured fairness and impartiality is enforced within the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office. Montgomery has 28 years of law enforcement experience.

During his tenure in office, Sheriff Montgomery has focused on eight key areas, transparency, underage drinking, drug enforcement, revenue recovery, the detention center operation, sheriff's foundation, funding for expansion and operation of the detention center, and leading the state-wide effort to change the Arkansas Constitution.

Transparency - With an open door policy and a state-of-the art website, the citizens have access to the inner workings and day-to-day operations of the office. Utilizing email, text messages and social networking, citizens are kept informed via press releases, inmate rosters, sex offender status reports, and letters from the sheriff and Captain Jeff Lewis.

Underage Drinking - Prior to Sheriff Montgomery taking office, there was a disturbing trend of alcohol-related fatalities of area youth. The sheriff’s office has aggressively attacked the problem by working with legislators to strengthen underage drinking laws and holding the establishments who sell alcohol to youth accountable. School officials note a significant drop in alcohol-related incidences with the school-age population.

Drug Enforcement - The sheriff’s office has increased drug enforcement activities by partnering with other law enforcement agencies and combining resources and intelligence. This has resulted in hundreds of arrests and thousands of dollars in seizures of drugs, assets and money. Vehicles, guns and cash that have been seized have been taken from drug dealers and turned into money and assets for Baxter County.

Revenue Recovery - A fine and restitution collection program has recovered significant dollars for Baxter County. The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Montgomery, was the first law enforcement agency in the state to garnish state income taxes in an effort to collect outstanding fines and restitution. This effort along with other initiatives has resulted in more than $2.6 million in restitution collected and paid to the citizens in the last 13 years.

Detention Center - The Baxter County Detention Center is known for its ‘no frills’ operation. Sheriff Montgomery says, “We serve the same meals every day and we do not provide television, radio, or any other luxuries. Our jail is not the Holiday Inn. If you don’t like the accommodations, go somewhere else to break the law.”

Baxter County Sheriff’s Foundation - Sheriff Montgomery has created a charitable foundation to allow public-spirited citizens to leave a legacy of public safety. This foundation has become the model for other law enforcement agencies to provide a tax-deductible method to expand public safety services beyond the scope of the normal operating budgets.

Funding for Expansion and Operation of the Detention Center - Sheriff Montgomery led the effort to deal with the overcrowding and underfunded Jail by using a unique, short six-month sales tax to fund the expansion. This approach led voters to overwhelmingly pass the issue with almost 70 percent.

Leader in the State-Wide Effort to Change the Arkansas Constitution: Until 2018, Arkansas county officials had to run for re-election every two years, while most every other state has four-year terms. Sheriff Montgomery was a leader in getting the four-year Constitutional issue on the ballot and traveled around the state to educate the voters. This effort resulted in the overwhelming passage (70 percent margin)of the Constitutional Amendment granting county officials four-year terms.

Sheriff Montgomery serves on numerous boards including the Association of Arkansas Board of Directors, Arkansas Association of Counties Risk Management Board of Trustees, Past President of the Arkansas Sheriff’s Association and member of Mountain Home Rotary Club, where he is a Paul Harris Fellow.

Sheriff Montgomery was elected by his fellow Arkansas sheriffs as president of the Arkansas Sheriff’s Association in July 2015. In this leadership role, Sheriff Montgomery is working with the association to address the critical areas of prison overcrowding and enhancing technology for all sheriff's offices . He has been asked to testify for various legislative committees and was appointed to the Governor’s transition team in January 2015.

Sheriff Montgomery has worked actively with local and state-wide legislators to enact or strengthen more than 18 pieces of legislation originating from the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office, many of which dealt with underage drinking and sex offender compliance laws. One key piece of legislation Montgomery worked with state officials on was the animal cruelty legislation, making certain offenses of animal cruelty a felony. (Act 33 of 2009) Prior to this act, there was not a felony animal cruelty statute in the State of Arkansas.

Montgomery says, “We have faced many difficult challenges in the past 13 years.   From the lack of funding for the detention center to the national attention because of the EDNAH dog incident (the largest animal cruelty case in the United States) to the shooting death of Officer Jim Sell and the subsequent apprehension of his killer - our challenges have been demanding.   Dealing with tornadoes, floods and a crippling ice storm has truly tested our office. No matter the situation, I am proud that our officers and staff have always risen to the challenge, learning significant lessons with each and every event. We have all worked together to quickly restore order and safety. I am extremely proud to be a part of this office and the community.”

“I am very proud of the way we have transformed the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office. We are recognized as one of the premier law enforcement agencies, not only in this state, but nationally as well. The difference is the teamwork environment and the mindset of our people. The men and women of our department truly care about their sheriff’s office and the people they serve.”

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