Sheriff Craig Rowland
BLACKFOOT — Two men are vying to become Bingham County’s top law enforcement officer for the next four years.
Incumbent Bingham County Sheriff Craig Rowland, the Republican nominee, is being challenged by Independent candidate Vaughn LeFevre. Both men ran for the same office in 2016.
To learn more about the candidate’s platform, EastIdahoNews.com asked the candidates to answer the same eight questions to each candidate.
LeFevre did not return EastIdahoNews.com’s phone requests to participate.
Rowland’s unedited responses are listed below.
Tell us about yourself — include information about your family, career, education, volunteer work and any prior experience in public office.
I was born in Ontario Oregon just because that was the closest hospital. At the time my mom was in Homedale, Idaho so Ontario was closer than Caldwell, Idaho. I was raised in the Nampa/Caldwell area and graduated from Vallivue High School in 1977. After I graduated, I was determined to become a police officer. I began working for the Department of Law Enforcement which is now known as the Idaho State Police. I was a Brand Inspector for two years then went to the State Police. After graduating from the academy, I moved to Twin Falls, Idaho as a State Trooper. In Twin Falls I met my wife Lisa Evans Rowland. We have been married for 31 years. We have two kids. Our son is a military veteran and served in the Iraq war. Our daughter is married and living in the Osgood area and we have three grandkids.
After Lisa and I were married she was promoted to the dispatch supervisor in Pocatello, and I was the Bingham County Resident for the State Police. We lived here for two years then I got promoted to the speed task force for the State Police. While I was on the task force we moved to Pocatello. Lisa went to the State Police academy while we lived in Pocatello and when she got out, we decided to move back to Blackfoot. While living in Blackfoot, Sheriff Dayle Holm approached me and wanted me to be his Chief Deputy. In 1996 I became the Chief Deputy for Sheriff Holm until his retirement in 2004. I continued to work for Bingham County in the Parks and Recreation and Emergency Management Office. I worked there until 2012 and was sworn in as the elected Sheriff. I have been the Sheriff for the past 8 years.
What are your proudest accomplishments in your personal life or career?
One of my proudest accomplishments was being able to pin the State Police badge on my wife and being able to stay married for as long as we have. In my career, I think my biggest accomplishment is becoming the Sheriff for Bingham County.
I have wanted to be a police officer since I was 15 years old because a kind State Trooper spent a little more time with me on a traffic stop. After that I did what I needed to do to become a police officer.
Another proud moment in my life is watching Sergeant Todd Howell survive getting shot. I was very proud of how the Sheriff’s Office employees came together and worked as a team in this shooting. Can you imagine being shot and having to go to court in 15 days after. Todd did a tremendous job throughout this whole ordeal. However, I do not want to go through this ever again. It was one of the scariest things that I had to go through.
Why are you a member of the Republican/Democrat/Independent/Other party? Briefly explain your political platform.
I am a member of the republican party and have been on the Republican Central committee for over 25 years. My wife is currently the secretary/treasurer for the Bingham County Republican Central Committee.
My platform is to only budget the amount of money that is necessary to run the Sheriff’s Office.
What are the greatest challenges facing your county?
At this time, I would have to say drugs are one of the biggest problems that we are having however with the Covid-19 we are seeing a lot of mental health issues and domestic violence. From January 01 to date we have gone to 108 domestic violence calls just in the County. I would have to affirm that drugs are probably one of our biggest problems. When a person is on drugs, they need to feed their habit and do anything for money. When they get caught it is usually for Burglary or some other Felony but it all started with the drugs.
How is your party’s ideology better suited to dealing with these unique challenges than those of your competitor?
As a Republican I believe in being very conservative with the dollars that the commissioners approve for my budget. I work very hard to make sure that we are not wasting any money that was given to me to spend in my budget. I am not sure how and Independent thinks because I have not been around very many of them. If you look at the Federal level Independent’s they appear to want to grow the government.
How will you best represent the views of your constituents – even those with differing political views?
I do not ask anyone who wants to come in and talk to me if they are Republican or if they voted for me. I am there to serve all the people of Bingham County. I could care less what your affiliation is, I want to help all people in Bingham County.
What trait, attribute, or experience do you possess that best qualifies you to manage public employees and handle public funding?
I have been a supervisor for the past 25 years with Bingham County. I have prepared and worked with budgets for the past 25 years both for the Sheriff’s Office and Parks and Recreation and Emergency Management.
I was also instrumental in starting the Mosquito Abatement District for Bingham County and I am also currently a board member.
When I became Sheriff, I implemented a 5-minute rule with the patrol deputies. Spend another 5 minutes with everyone and make sure that they know what they can do with their case. If it is a Civil case make sure they know why it is a Civil case.
I have 35 years of Law Enforcement with 25 of those years as a supervisor. I currently hold an Executive Certification from the Peace Officers Standards and Training. This is the highest certificate that an elected official can get from POST.
I am currently the Idaho Sheriff’s Association President and have served on that board for the past 4 years. I am also the past President of the Tri-County Sheriff’s Association.
What are your views regarding the role of the media in covering your county? How can you best work with local reporters to ensure coverage of the issues?
Almost every Media person has my cell phone number and calls me all the time when they hear something is going on. That is how I got this form, I got a call on my cell phone and answered. I work great with the Media and try to get information to them as soon as possible. I believe that local media is key in getting information out to the public.