Personal information: I grew up on a small farm between West Plains and Dora. My wife, Shelia, and I have been married 34 years; I’m a father and grandfather. We built our home in Pontiac. I’m a pro-life Christian and a Constitutional Conservative Republican.
Employment and experience: I joined the Ozark County Sheriff’s Office six years ago as a deputy. Currently, I’m a corporal with duties ranging from patrol and shift supervisor to crime scene investigator. I’m also a Missouri state certified fire investigator. I have five additional years of law enforcement experience as a full-time and part-time patrol officer with West Plains Police, Howell County Sheriff and Mountain View Police.
Education: I’m a graduate of West Plains High School, MU law enforcement training and the Missouri Sheriff’s Academy with MSU.
What is one thing you would like to change in the department? I want to ensure our deputies understand our U.S. and Missouri Constitutions. With the current turmoil and states’ rights being questioned, our staff needs to understand the importance of citizens’ rights and how to protect them.
What is the biggest challenge you see in this position? With some portraying our office, and law enforcement generally, in a negative light, it’s been a new challenge to keep OCSO staff from being affected by it. OCSO team members aren’t perfect, but they put their lives on the line every day for their community. Letting them know we appreciate and believe in them is vital.
What distinguishes you from your opponent? I’m an experienced, full-time deputy for Ozark County. Working here is how a sheriff gets familiar with his community, his staff and the problems we face. It’s equally important for a sheriff to be a “hands-on,” experienced Crime Scene Investigator who can teach what to do and what not to do when working serious cases in preparation for years of court proceedings.
Given the department’s limited staff and resources, how will you provide a county-wide presence and timely response? A deputy working even the simplest case may spend half his shift on a single arrest and writing reports at the office. It’s not a proactive or reactive issue; a good department like ours is both. It’s a technical issue. I will be outfitting our vehicles with computer systems that sync with our current system, providing access to information currently available only through the office. This will allow a deputy to make an arrest and do the basic processing then work on his reports and more while away from the office. He will also get GPS coordinates to calls to reduce response time.
CASSIDY 'CASS' MARTIN
Personal information: I’m a lifelong resident of Ozark County, raised on a farm in rural Dora. My wife, Andrea, and I have four children, ages 4 to 10. I’m a proud Christian and was raised in church where my father was the pastor. My family has lived here since the 1800s.
Employment and experience: I’ve worked my entire adult life in law enforcement, starting as a jailer in Ozark County. Next I worked as an Ava Police Department officer for 1 1/2 years before joining the Ozark County Sheriff’s Department. After four years as an OCSD deputy, I accepted a position with the federal Department of Homeland Security. For the last 4 1/2 years I’ve also worked as a criminal investigator for the Howell County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Education: I graduated from Dora High School and from the Missouri Sheriff’s Academy, where I received POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training) certification.
What is one thing you would like to change in the department? I want the department to change its focus from being reactive to proactive through more patrolling and a stronger deputy presence countywide, specifically in smaller communities such as Bakersfield, Dora, Theodosia and Thornfield. I want to hold regular community meetings throughout the county where residents can share their concerns, ideas and observations. I want the department to provide better service to residents. Victims of crimes should not have to come to Gainesville to make a report. We must be more public-service minded.
What is the biggest challenge you see in this position? A general disregard for authority in some parts of society translates into drug use and related crimes. By being proactive, the department can prevent many of these crimes that keep deputies “pinballing” from one call to the next. There are no better sources of information about criminal activity than the residents of our communities. That’s why community meetings are important. I believe I have the interpersonal and leadership skills to build a proactive team that will better serve our residents.
What distinguishes you from your opponent? I’m a new voice. I represent change. I’m not the hand-picked successor of the current sheriff. I seek the endorsement of Ozark Countians, not of previous sheriffs. I have more years of law enforcement experience than my opponent and a better knowledge of Ozark County because I’ve lived here my entire life.
Given the department’s limited staff and resources, how will you provide a county-wide presence and timely response? I’ve extensively reviewed the past three years of sheriff’s department budgets, and there is plenty of money to provide solid, countywide coverage in a timely manner. No tax increases are needed. By balancing resources, priorities and focus, a proactive department will provide better money management and better service.