Three men are seeking the office of Kosciusko County Sheriff Election Day, Nov. 4. The candidates are: C. Aaron Rovenstine, Travis Marsh and Patrick Jamison.
C. Aaron Rovenstine
Rovenstine (Republican) is a lifetime Kosciusko County resident, who grew up in Atwood. He graduated from Warsaw High School in 1978 and Ball State University in 1982 with a degree in criminal justice. He started his law enforcement career in Milford in 1984 for Chief David Hobbs.
In 1990, he was hired by the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department by Sheriff Ron Robinson. In 1998, he was elected by the people of Kosciusko County as sheriff and was re-elected in 2002. In 2007, he was appointed as chief deputy (captain) by Sheriff Rocky Goshert and has served in that capacity the last seven years.
He is married to Robin (Auer) Rovenstine. They have two sons, Cassius Austin, a Wabash College and Valparaiso School of Law graduate, presently working at the Law Office of Miner and Lemon. Caleb is a Grace College graduate and is working at Baker Youth Club, Warsaw.
Marsh (Independent) was raised in Syracuse. He attended the Wawasee school system, graduating in 1987. In 1993, he was sworn in as a reserve deputy in North Webster. He was hired full-time by the Pierceton Police Department in 1994. The same year, he married Cris Troup.
He attended the 119th session of the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy serving as the class president. He continued to climb the ladder of law enforcement having served as the Silver Lake Town Marshal, and then going to Syracuse Police Department. In December 1997, Marsh was hired by the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department, where he was promoted to detective sergeant in 2000.
He took a sabbatical in 2007 and worked in the private sector for a few months before returning to law enforcement as a federal investigator completing contract work for the DOD and DHS. He returned to police work at the same time working two jobs when he took a position with the Riverview, Mich., Police Department. He found a job in Milford where he has been working since 2009, currently serving as lieutenant. Visit www.marshforsheriff.com for the specifics of his family, career, education and training.
Jamison (Libertarian) was born in Warsaw and has lived in Kosciusko County his whole life. He grew up in the rural areas outside Claypool. He went to Tippecanoe Valley High School and Vincennes University.
He spent eight years in the Army National Guard (1990-1998) as an infantry soldier and was honorably discharged. He and his wife have been married for 18 years and have three kids. He has spent most of his working life on farms, factories, and in mills “doing what the average American does: work and get paid by the hour,” he said. He became a reserve police officer for Pierceton in 2001. He became a full-time police officer for Rochester in 2002. He didn’t get involved in politics until 2012.
“I wanted to know more about how our system worked, so I decided to become a delegate to the Republican state convention,” he said. “This year, I decided to step up as a common citizen and run for the office of sheriff here in my home county of Kosciusko County.”
The men were asked the same two questions each. The questions and answers are as follows:
As a sheriff’s candidate, what expertise or experience do you think you will bring to the position?
ROVENSTINE: “If elected, I bring my background, education, and experience to the office of sheriff. I have 30 years of law enforcement experience, including 24 with the sheriff’s department. I was twice elected sheriff by the people of Kosciusko County. I currently serve as Sheriff Rocky Goshert’s chief deputy (captain). I have a degree in criminal justice from Ball State University and have been elected and appointed to numerous law enforcement boards including the Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board that oversees the training of all law enforcement officers in the state of Indiana. I twice graduated from the Indiana Sheriff’s School and was elected to the Indiana Sheriff’s Associations Board of Directors. I am confident with my background and experience I can do a good job for the citizens of Kosciusko County as sheriff.”
JAMISON: “When elected sheriff, I will bring a lot of life experience to the office. I am the only military veteran running for sheriff this year, and the only member of the OathKeepers among the candidates. I bring a profound love for our Constitutional Republic and the principles on which it was founded. I went to Vincennes University for law enforcement and corrections. I later became a reserve police officer for the town of Pierceton. After that, I became of full-time police officer for Rochester.
“Aside from all of that, I think it’s important to identify with the people. Even though I am experienced in military service and police work, I’ve spent most of my life working just like the average citizen. I’ve worked in factories, mills, farms, and I understand what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck. I understand what it’s like to be the head of a household and live within a budget. I’ve heard the voices of many people who say: ‘We should take back our country’ and I’m offering this opportunity to do exactly that. I’m a common working person who’s decided to stand up for ‘we the people.’ I intend to restore the balance of liberty with justice. We have a ‘justice system’ but I’m wondering why we don’t have a ‘liberty system’?
“There must be a balance between liberty and justice. While most police officers are focused on the justice system, for which they are part of, I am focused on protecting the rights and liberties of the common decent citizen. It’s an obvious given that police will do their job in arresting the criminal elements when necessary. That is their job. I will support them in doing so, but when the questions of constitutionality and the common person’s rights are in jeopardy, I will see to it that the err is on the side of liberty.”
MARSH: “If elected, I will bring the benefits of working in and with all levels of government. I have worked with small departments, municipal department, county department, and with the DOD, DHS, OPM at the federal level. The experiences I have had have highlighted the similarities and differences between departments and communities. I have had the privilege to have been a town council member in North Webster. I have taught at Ivy Tech in the criminal justice program for five years. Being a teacher also mandates that you are also a consummate student. I have reaped the benefits of sitting on several boards for various associations and organizations holding a number of leadership positions. I have spent my entire life building an understanding of leadership, operations, and law enforcement from all aspects. The proficiency I have acquired as a result of work, training, and education have prepared me to serve as sheriff.”
If elected sheriff, what do you hope to do about the meth problem and other drug-related crimes?
ROVENSTINE: “We are doing all we can with the resources we have available to curb and deter the use of methamphetamine and other drugs. Of the 549 drug arrests in 2013 countywide, 133 were for methamphetamine, so we are aggressive in the enforcement area.”
“A new and troubling trend is the rise in heroin and prescription drug usage in the community. This is a never-ending fight against substance abuse. We look at this as a three-prong approach in addressing the issue of drugs. First, there is education, which includes Meth Watch, DARE, and public meetings. Second, there is aggressive enforcement, which is previously referred to, and the third deals with punishment and alternatives. One thing I would like to see is higher bonds on some drug-related charges. One issue is multiple arrests of the same individual before their case is adjudicated. Alternative sentencing is also an option, and I am interested in seeing the results of the county’s new drug court that started in January. Early results have been very encouraging, and I applaud the efforts by the courts and prosecutor’s office, along with the probation department in developing this option.”
JAMISON: “The meth problem seems to have put our county in a bad light. It is pervasive and seems to be a problem that just won’t go away. I think the source of the problem is in the hearts and minds of those who use and abuse the drug. I would like to use the systems we have in place to help addicts get control of their lives again. We have a new drug court that I think will help keep a lot of non-violent people out of the jail. There’s no doubt that methamphetamine is a horrible drug that ruins people’s lives. I think I could use the office of sheriff as a good platform in helping those people get an opportunity to get help. Unfortunately, sometimes addicts will resort to breaking other laws in the pursuit of feeding their addiction. The victimization through theft, force, or other assaults of the citizenry will not be tolerated by me or anyone who is deputized in my command. In the cases where no other laws have been broken, I would refer as many non-violent addicts to the drug courts as possible.
“Personally, I kind of think we are putting too much time and taxpayer money into a failed drug war, when we should be focusing on more serious crimes like child molestation. We had a rape occur in downtown Warsaw, and the general public didn’t even know about it until a month later. I’m talking about violent crime where there is a clear victim.
“We need to focus more on the actual prevention of real crimes. If an individual is determined to pursue self destruction, then there is very little that police can do for them other than arrest. However, the actual protection of the citizenry, who are not prone to break laws or victimize others, should be of higher priority. My opponents have had little to no success in fighting meth. In fact, the problem has only grown. I don’t believe that creating an endless cycle of addicts through a system is beneficial to the taxpayers who are funding the drug war or the addicts. Let’s focus on serious crimes, like child molestation, rape, theft, battery and the protection of common, hard-working people.”
MARSH: “We would seek to improve cooperation and communication between departments. There is a wealth of information that is untapped as we don’t have fluid communication between the sheriff’s department and other law enforcement agencies in Kosciusko County; although there has been some improvement since the campaigns have been addressing this issue. The continuation of Meth Watch and providing more public relations activities are important. The entire process of combating the drug problem is shared by law enforcement and the community at large. I would also like to see more interdiction training for patrol officers, especially the K-9 unit. While prescription drugs are still a major issue, heroin is becoming more increasingly available and this drug has to get here through transportation. Interdictions efforts will assist in the effort to mitigate our drug issues.”