Republican Sheriff Richard Jones of Butler County was re-elected with almost 81 percent of the vote, according to the Butler County Board of elections.
The economy is his biggest concern in Butler County. He said the five-year recession has impacted the Butler County jail space and the sheriff office’s budget.
“I have less jail space,” Jones said. “Before the recession started five years ago we had 1500 prisoners incarcerated in our jails here. Right now we have 800 because we cannot afford to have more prisoners and more people incarcerated. It is not because we have less crime. There is less jail space.”
Budget cuts have also decreased the number of police officers and arrests.
“Less police officers see less because there is less out there,” Jones said. “There are less arrests because every police department has had to cut back [from] every law enforcement jurisdiction from the feds all the way down.”
Jones said the economy impacts law enforcement all across the country at the local, state and federal level.
“You have to have leadership at the top and it has to start in D.C.,” Jones said. “Congress, the Senate and the President of the United States, [it] has to change there and work its way down to the little old people like us.”
Jones hoped to see Mitt Romney elected president.
In the past five years, the Butler County Sheriff’s Office has laid off 25 percent of his staff including the jail, deputy and civilian jobs.
According to Jones, it costs $50,000 to incarcerate one person for one year. The Sheriff sees that as a serious problem in Ohio compared to the cost of education.
“It costs 10,000 a year for a child in school,” Jones said. “Our system is messed up and our priorities are messed up. Whatever is on the book as the Ohio Revised Code we have to enforce. The only way to fix the part where we spend $50,000 on a prisoner incarcerated and we spend $10,000 on our students… [is that] laws have to be changed.”
Jones would also like to see more federal immigration reform in the next four years. Since being elected Sheriff in 2005, he has gained national attention for his efforts to deport illegal immigrants in Butler County. Many of the sheriff’s deputies are sworn in as federal agents to deal with the immigration process.
“We deport people back to the countries of which they came from this jail, probably the most in the state of Ohio,” Jones said. “At one time we were doing like 20 a week.”
Jones spoke with passion against illegal immigrants committing crimes in Butler County.
“I have actually had in this county where illegals have killed people in car crashes, have raped people [including] an elderly woman… We had one were they have run over people, they’ve killed them and fled. We have had to go to Mexico to get them. It has been a pretty tough time here,” Jones said.
Jones said he hopes to see a bipartisan plan by the federal government in the next administration on immigration.
“Does it frustrate me that my government won’t fix this and refuses to?” Jones said. “Sure it does. … It needs to be fixed, pretty simple just fix the damn thing but we can’t get it done.”
Jones has a simple plan for his next four years as Butler County Sheriff.
“My plan is to manage this office with the resources that I have and to protect the community to the best of my ability,” Jones said.