Bower well suited to thinking outside the box

Posted 30 October 2015 at 12:00 am


Years ago, I worked at a community college that was trying to meet the needs of disabled students. Accessibility was just becoming mandatory, and whether the students were capable or not, the college had to accept them. Our task was to make sure they were able to get through their courses.

All these students knew they had to work three times as hard to get half as far, and they all knew by the time they graduated that they would have a difficult time getting jobs. The interviewer would see the white cane, the hearing aids, the walker, or the wheelchair before he would see the person’s capabilities.

One profoundly deaf student was enrolled in Automotive Technology, and his teachers had misgivings that he would be able to get through because he couldn’t diagnose engine noises. One day a car came in with an engine tick. All the students took turns using an automotive stethoscope in the attempt to figure out, unsuccessfully, which lifter was bad.

As a joke, the last one handed the deaf student the ‘scope.’ He waved it aside and placed his fingers on the exposed rocker arms. Within 30 seconds, he had pinpointed the problem. Nobody else even considered tactile sense as an option.

Because accessibility is not 100 percent anywhere, disabled people have to think outside of the box. This is Mr. Bower’s trademark. Mr. Drennan has a tag line of “Experience Matters,” meaning on-the-road, behind-the-badge experience. Both he and Mr. Organisciak have insisted that physical experience is most important, because Mr. Bower can never achieve that. This is why, whether he anticipated or it was in response to this, Mr. Bower has had an undersheriff from the very start. It was never really about the undersheriff. It was about having an answer to his opponents’ claims.

It is also not about “having the undersheriff do all the work for the sheriff.” The sheriff’s job is to coordinate the different aspects of his office (jail, animal control, etc.) and to keep everything moving smoothly. It is the undersheriff’s job to do the daily assignments and to manage the road patrol. So while it is not necessary to pick an undersheriff before an election, it has been a bonus for the public to know exactly with whom they will be dealing directly.

As for me, I would like to have a sheriff who can anticipate and be pro-active, rather than reactive. I would like a sheriff who can postulate all the contingencies and be prepared, with a solid plan in place.

Before this race, I never imagined any county could have a sheriff who happens to have his own personal wheels, but after having watched and having talked to many people, I can’t imagine anyone better than Randy Bower to meet the needs of the people of this county.

Judith Larkin