Sheriff candidates both offer experience

Emily Brink

Incumbent Paul Fitzgerald and Terry Stark, sergeant for the Story County jail system, will be facing off for the position of county sheriff during the Nov. 7 elections.

Fitzgerald, running on the Democratic ticket, is seeking reelection for a third consecutive term. After eight years as sheriff, Fitzgerald said is looking to bring “continued changes to the Story County law enforcement.”

“This position offers challenges that are interesting and rewarding,” he said.

Fitzgerald is the only sheriff in the history of Iowa who has received a master’s degree in criminal justice, he said. In addition to 26 years of field experience, he has taught modern law enforcement to officers in training for more than a decade.

The Story County law enforcement system should act as a spoke in a wheel, Fitzgerald said, by “working with other service providers to have a positive effect on the community.”

Fitzgerald said he is proud of his efforts that have united local service providers to bring about positive community programs. For example, the Story County DARE program has brought together schools and law enforcement as a drug prevention measure.

The sheriff has worked in a variety of fields in law enforcement, including uniformed patrol, investigations and public information in Waterloo before he came to Story County.

Fitzgerald calls himself “budget-minded.” He said he has brought a record amount of money to the county law enforcement through grants and other sources of money within the eight years he has acted as sheriff.

Stark, the Republican candidate from Nevada, has lived in Story County his entire life and is an ISU graduate. He would bring more than 20 years of law-enforcement experience to the position of Story County sheriff.

Stark said he is running to bring diversity to the ballot. He said incumbent Fitzgerald has done a good job in the position as sheriff, but he wants to give voters a choice. “I am running for positive reasons,” Stark said.

Stark, whose father was sheriff for Story County, has served on both the patrol and jail division for the Story County police force.

“I have tried to advance in my career with all that I have done,” Stark said.

After 18 years with Story County, Stark said he is “ready to move to the highest level as sheriff.”

Stark said his goals are similar to those of his opponent. He said he wants to decrease the crime rate, decrease drug use and help stop domestic abuse.

However, it is differences in philosophies between the candidates that Stark said offers diversity to the election. “I will be fiscally prudent, yet I will be progressive,” he said.

Stark said he is interested in purchasing automatic defibrillators, which are devices to shock the heart when in cardiac arrest.

Another of Stark’s plans is to implement a new 911 system in Story County. The new system would allow citizens to be informed via telephone of emergencies such as severe weather and strings of crimes in a certain area.

In the work place, Stark said he will be an “open and fair man.” He said it is important to make sure the employees know what they can expect from him. “I will be working to create harmony,” he said.