Meet the Candidates: Scioto County Sheriff

John Murphy

John Murphy

David Thoroughman


*Editor’s note: Due to a mechanical error, some candidates’ answers were transposed in the “Meet the Candidates: Scioto County Sheriff” story originally published in the Daily Times on Saturday, March 14, 2020. The Daily Times online version you will read below has those errors corrected and we will publish the corrected version on Monday, March 16, 2020 for our print version readers. The Daily Times apologizes to David Thoroughman and John Murphy as well as our loyal readers and viewers for the error.

Sheriff Candidates, David Thoroughman and John Murphy, were sent a questionnaire to answer questions for the upcoming primary election. Below are their answers.

Q: Why are you interested in holding office?

Thoroughman (R): I am with a humbled heart seeking this position so that I can bring about needed change to our county. The need for change is obvious with such an increase in the amount of overdose calls (666.67%) and deaths (approx. 98%) in the past few years, and nothing being done to combat this. I made this decision because I know that I can have a greater impact upon the safety of our county in the position of Sheriff than I can in my current job position.

I want to be the Sheriff of the people of Scioto County; when we work together, we can do much to improve our community. The citizens deserve to have the sheriff’s office led in a professional, proactive and service-minded manner. I have a great passion for law enforcement – I have dedicated over 31 years of my life to help those that cannot protect themselves and to go after those who prey upon the weak and helpless.

Murphy (R): I’ve proudly dedicated 27 years of my life because I believe the citizens of Scioto County deserve to have a safe place to raise their families.

I love this county and the people who live here. Unfortunately, we have serious issues that demand serious solutions. We need actual experience in our sheriff’s office. We need someone capable of tackling our problems head-on, without hesitation. I believe that I am the person best suited to tackle these problems head-on. Fancy words and fabricated experience isn’t going to cut it. This is real life. It is time to get serious about our safety, our future, and our children’s tomorrows.

Scioto County is at a crossroads. Our population is going down, our drug problems are going up. We MUST reverse this trend. We have one shot to get this right.

I have over a quarter of a century of experience understanding what will, and will not, work within the Sheriff’s Office. I consider it an honor to truly understand what it means to be committed to the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office and humbly serve my neighbors, friends, and family.

Q: What would your priorities be as a Scioto County Sheriff?

Thoroughman: I will enhance school safety, consolidate services (saving tax dollars), re-establish the local drug task force and K-9 unit, build trust and community partnerships with the people whom we serve, specifically hosting community roundtables to receive input and hear the needs of citizens of our county, and leverage new and improving technologies, making it easier for our residents to engage with their Sheriff’s Office.

I will go after federal and state grants to purchase equipment and vehicles, to cover overtime cost and to add additional officers to the streets. I will work with each township to enhance the quality of life in our community.

I will establish a countywide 9-1-1 center, which will increase the efficiency of emergency response while also reducing the cost to our citizens.

Murphy: To reduce the power drugs, have on our neighbors and family members. The people of Scioto County deserve better than the addictions that have a stranglehold on our community.

I also intend to work with the commissioners to increase the number of road deputies. We must reduce response times for our citizens when they call upon us for help.

As I stated when I announced my candidacy, I also intend to bring back a K-9 program to assist our team. In conjunction with the K-9 program, I will be adding personnel to focus on fighting back the drug issues we face. I also will assign an investigator to focus solely on sex crimes and other crimes against our children.

Lastly, I will implement a rifle program for our deputies patrolling the roads of Scioto County. By doing this it will allow our deputies the capability to deal with criminals that have armed themselves with high powered rifles and other weapons, which could potentially harm large numbers of innocent people in a short amount of time.

Q: Why do you feel you are more qualified for the position than your opponent?

Thoroughman: During my law enforcement career, I have been trained as an emergency medical technician (EMT) and certified as a volunteer firefighter. This experience, as well as the three decades I have worked in law

enforcement, gives me the unique, varied set of skills that I feel are necessary for the position of Sheriff. I can view each incident from the viewpoint of many types of first responders.

I am the only candidate that has led two law enforcement agencies; I worked my way through the ranks and retired from one, and I built the other from the ground up. Thus, I have been responsible for the budget and grants of two law enforcement agencies. This experience is invaluable for the chief law enforcement officer of the county. I am the only candidate with this extensive experience and education. I am the only candidate to have honorably served in the United States military.

I have REAL on-the-job, boots on the ground experience by responding to thousands of calls for service as well as directing the response of my officers. It is crucial for the sheriff to understand how to respond to and direct the response to the most devastating of calls.

I am the only candidate with a proven record of being aggressive on crime. I have served on the local drug task force on two separate occasions: as a patrol officer and as a sergeant. This experience, together with my education and advanced training qualifications, have prepared me to bring about the change our county needs.

Murphy: Experience. My experience has been with the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office, not different police agencies, security departments and so on. All my experience has been inside the office I am now asking the citizens of Scioto County to hire me to run.

I know our personnel and what their skill set is and how it can best serve the Sheriff’s Office. I know the resources available to the Sheriff’s Office to keep our citizens safe. There is no “learning curve” for me. I will hit the ground running on Day One.

I know all the hard-working men and women of the Office and they all know me. They know I am a no-nonsense, straightforward guy and what I would expect from them moving forward. I have the utmost confidence in them to make the transition to my leadership.

Q: What would you change about the way things currently operate within the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office, or what would you continue to do?

Thoroughman: I will ensure that the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office has a more cooperative relationship with all local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies within the county. I would increase the joint operations that we do, working as one team, not separate.

I will increase the training that correctional officers and deputies receive. It is important that they have all the available tools they need to allow them to be safe and effective at their jobs. I will ensure that they have the equipment needed to safely do their jobs.

I will reverse policies that refuse to deal with certain felony drug crimes. Additionally, I will fix the sick time policy that does not allow the employees to receive their full pay when they are facing battles of their lifetime, such as cancer. Currently, their pay is reduced with the increase in sick time usage.

I will ensure that the operations of the sheriff’s office are victim-centered, as well as employee-centered.

Murphy: I have my own ideas to help to continue moving the Sheriff’s Office forward in a positive direction. I have the institutional knowledge of what has been tried in the past, what will, and what will not work. We have no time for a trial and error method of management of the Sheriff’s Office.

As in any skilled position, you must begin at the bottom as you learn and sharpen your skills so that one day you may become a supervisor leading your profession or company. You would not want to appoint a person to be the leader of your company their first day on the job. So, to be a leader of the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office, you should have had to earn your way through the ranks and learn all aspects of the position. That is why I feel I am the best-qualified candidate to hold the office of Sheriff.

I will continue my commitment to my friends and neighbors to provide the best law enforcement agency available to them. The people of Scioto County know that I have their best interest at heart and that will never change.

Q: How would you ensure that the decisions you made best represented the needs and concerns of Scioto County residents?

Thoroughman: I will have community roundtables in each of our townships. I will be hearing from the citizens, as well as community leaders, on what issues they are facing. Additionally, I will bring multiple disciplines together to work on solutions as one efficient team.

I would ensure that decisions are made by following a logical and ordered process, making sure to address all the critical elements for a successful outcome. Having a standard procedure will reduce the likelihood of overlooking critical factors.

Murphy: The needs of Scioto County Residents are first and foremost to feel safe, to feel secure, to take pride in where they live and raise their children. I am a resident of our county, so I get it. I understand completely what they want from their public servants. Those understandings are the first item on the list when checking on whether a decision before me has their interests at heart.

Q: How would you respond to those who question your ability to make informed, non-biased decisions on behalf of the county?

Thoroughman: I would explain the process in which the decision was made. I would show that I prioritized and analyzed the data that I had on hand to support or refute the decision that I was considering. I would show that the decision was made after investigating the situation in detail and exploring all my options. If applicable, I would show where I sought out expert advice or counsel.

Murphy: Anyone who knows me knows that what you see is what you get. I study every issue before me intently. I gather as much data as I can, so I never make decisions based on emotion, but rather my decisions are made on an analytical analysis of the data.

I base this philosophy on over a quarter of a century experience with the Office I now seek to lead. During that time all decisions I have made have been in the best interests of those I serve.

Q: In 50 words or less, what would your term as Scioto County Sheriff look like?

Thoroughman: We will see the reduction of drugs, crime, and most importantly overdose deaths. We will see the trust between the sheriff’s office and our community increase by effectively using community policing. We can accomplish this very easily by coming out into the community, meeting the residents that we serve.

Murphy: In my first term the people of Scioto County will see exciting changes in their Sheriff’s Office. A more aggressive approach to the problems plaguing our county will take place immediately. This approach will build on the tactics implemented by sheriffs before me and move to a whole new level. I know the people of our county will be pleased with the results!

John Murphy Murphy

David Thoroughman Thoroughman