LOWV Questions: James Grubba
I have been a lifelong resident of Portage County and a 34 year veteran of the Portage County Sheriff’s Office. I feel a strong bond with the people of Portage County because of my deep roots in this community and my 34 year commitment to civil service. I am running for Sheriff because I believe I can make a difference in the community I call home and can deliver solutions to problems that the community and Sheriff’s Office face.
My career with the Sheriff’s Office began as a patrol deputy and culminated as the Support Services Lieutenant. During my time at the Sheriff’s Office I worked on the road as a deputy, in the jail as a court officer and as the Home Detention Officer. I worked as a Sergeant in the Detective Bureau and again in the Patrol section as a Lieutenant charged with supervising both sergeants and deputies. I have worked with budget items, prepared grants, and directed the activities of the Communications/Dispatch Center, Detective Bureau, Court Services and Training. My 14 years as Lieutenant has prepared me to make stronger and quicker decisions. I have accumulated 20 years of supervision and management experience with the office.
I believe the choice is clear in this election. I bring the most complete set of qualifications to the Office of the Sheriff and have the experience needed to hit the ground running.
Portage County is viewed as a leader in the state regarding alternatives to incarceration. What is your view on alternatives to incarceration and have you participated in these efforts?
The services that Justiceworks provides are invaluable and must be continued, with the cooperation of the Sheriff’s Office. In the 1990s I wrote, received and implemented a grant to research the recidivism rate of OWI offenders as it relates to alternative sentencing. I worked with our judges to gain support for the project. With the continued overcrowding of jail resources, we need to look at alternative sentencing for those offenders who are low risk and have potential to rehabilitate through these programs.
The Sheriff’s department has many roles and responsibilities supported by a 10 million dollar budget. Help us understand the major expenses of the department and your expertise.
The major expense to the budget is manpower, far and away. The efficient and effective scheduling and assigning of officers can make all the difference in conserving scarce tax dollars. As a Lieutenant my expertise allowed me to maximize available resources to the fullest potential. I scheduled DOT Safety Grant projects, DNR Patrols, Special Events, and Special Response Team deployments. I have been responsible for setting schedules for all road Deputies and Sergeants as well as establishing department training for in-service classes. In my 34 years of service I have learned how to maximize budget dollars in the most effective manner.
Is cyber crime common in Portage County? How does the department investigate it and assist victims?
Cyber crime in Portage County is a big problem encompassing computer and phone hacking, phone scams, identity theft, intellectual property theft, and commerce disruption. Technology has become a real part of even the most common crimes. Having the ability to keep up with technology is vital for law enforcement agencies. I have worked cases where victims were scammed out of their life savings. We can move to stop the loss but in most cases, little or nothing can be done to recover the losses already incurred.
Federal monies go to help large scale crimes, national security and intellectual property thefts that affect our economy. This leaves local agencies to combat the issue on their own. The Sheriff’s Office has a dedicated forensics officer to recover data and evidence of a crime. We need to take a preventative approach and be involved in the lives of our families. We need to educate parents on websites and predators that pose risks to their children, as well as educate the elderly on scams focused on their age group.