Duchak, Reece vie to be Miami County Sheriff


By Sheryl Roadcap

[email protected]

TROY — Two candidates, incumbent Dave Duchak and his challenger Paul L. Reece, are facing off for the Republican nomination for Miami County sheriff for the third time. Miami County voters will go to the polls to cast their ballot on March 19 in the primary election.

Duchak, a resident of Troy, has served as the sheriff of Miami County for the past 7 years. He is the father of two adult children. He has served in Miami County law enforcement for 37 years; 34 of those years having been with the Miami County Sheriff’s Office.

Reece, 58, resides in Piqua with his wife Denise of almost 32 years. The couple share six children and 12 grandchildren. He is the founder and owner of Dynamic Threat Management Solutions. The company is a consulting firm that provides expert analysis, professional guidance, and actionable steps designed to equip clients to prevent, prepare for, thwart, or if need be, appropriately respond to existing or potential security threats in the home and workplace.

Reece holds Bachelor of Arts degree in organizational management and a Master of Arts in business and organizational security management.

Reece adds in his introduction of himself, “In 2016, I was a candidate for Sheriff in a 4-way race and came in second, and in the 2020 election, I won 42% of the votes.” He feels he qualified for the position because of his “25 years in military law enforcement, including my expertise in anti-terrorism, threat investigations, security planning, and providing executive-level protection, prepared me to understand the times and respond accordingly. That, combined with my 26 years in civilian law enforcement, more than qualifies me to serve as your County Sheriff. Furthermore, with my advanced degrees, three Miami County Common Pleas Court judges have certified my qualifications to serve as Sheriff.”

Both candidates were asked the same questions and their responses as answered are provided below:

Why do you want to be the sheriff of Miami County?

Duchak: It is an honor to serve as your Sheriff and I thoroughly enjoy the job. I am currently in my second term and while a lot has been accomplished, there is always more to do. I have the energy and drive to continue moving the Sheriff’s Office forward. My experience gives me a lot to offer on continuing to keep Sheriff’s Office operations modern and to help maintain Miami County’s low crime rate and great quality of life.

Reece: I strongly desire to use my proven skills and abilities to equip, lead, and encourage agency employees to carry out their duties to serve to the best of their ability for the benefit of the law-abiding citizens of Miami County.

What can be done to make the Miami County Sheriff’s Office better?

Reece: As Sheriff, my first goal will be to create and maintain a healthy work environment that motivates employees to remain with the agency. To achieve that goal, among other things, opportunities for personal and professional growth will be made more widely available. Further, employees can expect acknowledgment of their abilities and receive the respect and appreciation they deserve. In addition, steps will be taken to diminish stress on employees’ families.

Duchak: We are always looking at ways to keep current with technology, training and equipment. I feel we have kept pace in all three of those areas and are well positioned, however they remain critical and we must stay in pace with technological progression as much as possible. Additionally, we have many community outreach programs and we are always exploring other programs and formats to educate and inform the public.

Do you feel communication with the public needs improved, and if so, how will you achieve that goal?

Duchak: I feel we communicate effectively with the community through many platforms. We have a presence on social media, a robust website, news releases, and many community outreach programs including active shooter training, crime prevention, Safety town program, and C.S.I. camp for teens, to name just a few. Our school resource officers, deputies, detectives, and myself give talks at many civic clubs throughout the county on various topics. I also go on local radio stations on occasion to discuss programs and current events. Our daily calls for service log is electronically sent to the media each day to assist them with informing the public on what is happening throughout the county. Lastly, it should be noted that the Sheriff’s Office fulfills between 6,000 and 7,000 public records requests annually in a timely manner.

Reece: Based on conversations with township trustees, city and village council members, leaders of various associations, and civic groups, there is a widely held and expressed desire for me to be proactive in creating and maintaining an open channel of communication. I look forward to those conversations.

What is the biggest challenge facing the sheriff’s office?

Reece: The challenge is that many people think that because Miami County is rural, it is a safe place, but crime has no boundaries. Our proximity to I-70 and I-75 gives drug traffickers, human traffickers, and those hostile to our way of life unfettered access to our communities. For that reason, we must be vigilant and prepared to deal with unwelcome elements by applying necessary precautions for our individual and collective safety.

Duchak: Narcotics Enforcement – The amount of narcotics coming across our southern border is truly stunning. Those narcotics, fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine, to name a few, are making their way here and across the country. Tough enforcement combined with treatment is a must. That is why I previously added a narcotics detective position and assigned a narcotics detective to the Dayton Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration to work in a collaborative manner with our local, state, and federal partners.

I and members of my staff continue to be a part of the Miami County Drug Free Coalition. This partnership between law enforcement, mental health and substance abuse professionals, courts, and other community partners strives to bring treatment and other resources to those suffering from addiction. The Miami County Common Pleas Court added a mental health court two years ago, which I and others in law enforcement supported to divert those non-violent offenders in mental health crisis from jail into proper treatment settings.

Our jail population over the past few years has been the sickest I have seen in my career, primarily due to the the ravages of narcotics use. Narcotics bring crime and human misery. I and my staff will do all in our power to keep illegal narcotics out of Miami County and bring those who would traffic narcotics to justice.

How will you deal with the new rules regarding the legalization of marijuana?

Duchak: We will follow the law as it was written and passed. We have already made adjustments in polices and procedures and have updated deputies and corrections officers with those changes. To date, there have been no issues.

Reece: As of this date, the state has not formally agreed upon and adopted the proposed administrative rules. After the rules are adopted, it will be the duty of all law enforcement officers to enforce those rules without partiality.

How will you as sheriff help bring funding into the sheriff’s office?

Reece: As your Sheriff, I will actively pursue the necessary funding to meet known and projected needs. And, like all county service providers, I will submit a detailed funding request to our County Commissioners and advocate for the (tax) dollars needed to protect and defend people and our county’s infrastructure. After reviewing the proposed budget and hearing testimony, the Commission will then determine, based on the total tax dollars available, how much will be allocated for public safety. Within the scope of the duties of a Sheriff is the ability to apply for federal and state grants (typically tax-supported) intended to advance public safety.

Duchak: The Sheriff’s Office for years has applied for and been successful in obtaining state and federal grants. From the traffic enforcement grant, to equipment grants, to the recent $175,000.00 jail needs assessment grant to name just a few. Our administrative captain is assigned duties that include grant writing, and he stays current with all grant postings. Additionally we rent out excess jail beds to other counties in need of them. All of those revenues are paid into the county general fund.

Does the sheriff’s office need new facilities, vehicles, deputies, or any other need that you would like to see met?

Duchak: As stated previously, we recently received a grant for $175,000.00 for a jail needs assessment. That assessment has already started and encompasses all of those who interact with the Miami County criminal justice system to include law enforcement, judges, probation, parole, medical staff, hospitals, mental health & substance abuse professionals, prosecutors, public defenders, and the public. The downtown jail is in poor condition. The needs assessment is the first step at looking at consolidation of both jails. The assessment will be made available to the public when completed.

We are at the forefront on technology and equipment thanks to my staff, grant funding, and our county commissioners.

With respect to recruitment we are doing well. Currently, we have two deputy sheriff openings and are in the selection process with applicants.

Reece: Yes. Over a decade ago, a block of cells in the jail were determined to be unfit for human habitation. A significant amount of tax dollars has been spent on multiple studies that have substantiated the need for substantial upgrades, and yet, the jail remains in deplorable condition. The work environment is not conducive to the retention of employees, and therefore, it is chronically understaffed. Ideally, money will be designated to hire and fully staff the jail to reduce overtime costs. Also, there will always be a need to upgrade vehicles and equipment as well as office-wide technology.

Any other comments you would like to add.

Reece: If honored to be elected, this will be my oath of office: I solemnly swear, before God and man, that I will, to the best of my ability, faithfully serve the citizens of Miami County, safeguard their lives and property, protect the innocent from deception, the weak from intimidation, the peaceful against violence, and diligently protect, support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America and the Constitution of Ohio. My personal feelings, political beliefs, animosities, or friendships shall not influence my decisions when carrying out the duties incumbent upon me. I wholeheartedly shall do this as I answer unto God.

Duchak: Having been Sheriff for seven years now, I have a track record that can be reviewed. I am proud of that record and all of the accomplishments that have occurred over the past two terms – none of which would have been possible without the truly amazing and dedicated staff I am blessed to serve with. I have thirty-seven years of full-time experience in law enforcement. I came up through the ranks of the Sheriff’s Office starting as a deputy before being promoted to detective, patrol sergeant, patrol lieutenant, detective lieutenant, administrative captain, patrol captain, chief deputy, and I am now honored to serve as the elected county Sheriff. I get along and work well with all of my fellow elected and law enforcement officials. I can still remember the day Sheriff Cox hired me. I have not forgotten where I came from and will always do my best for my staff and fellow residents. For additional information, go to www.reelectduchaksheriff.com.

No posts to display