Longtime lawman Krukow faces new challenger

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Clay County Sheriff Randy Krukow, 61, of Spencer, has spent the past 38 years in local law enforcement, including the past 12 years in his current position.

Steve Koenig, 62, of rural Webb, has been trucking for 20 years, in addition to helping his brothers farm and operate a portable toilet business.

Randy Krukow

Koenig has been nominated by petition to challenge Krukow, a Republican, in the Nov. 6 sheriff election.

Both men took time to answer questions for The Daily Reporter.

Why do you think you are qualified to serve as sheriff?

Krukow: I have the experience, education and proven leadership. I am currently serving my 12th year as the Clay County Sheriff. I was on the Spencer Police Department for 26 years where I served as a patrolman, investigator, and interim chief of police.

I am a graduate of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy and a certified law enforcement officer, graduate of the National Center for Rural Law Enforcement Executives Leadership Institute, National Sheriff's Executive Level Management Institute and the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation Advanced Interview and Interrogation.

Steve Koenig

I have served as the past president of the Iowa State Sheriffs and Deputies Association. Currently I am serving on the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy Council where I was appointed by Gov. Tom Vilsack in 2005, and served as chairman this past year. Currently I am chairman of the Clay County Emergency Management Board and the Iowa Great Lakes Task Force.

Also I am a member of the Iowa Crime Prevention, National Sheriff's Assoc. and Clay County SALT Triad. I am one of the cofounders of Project Lifesaver of Iowa.

Koenig: I have to go to school for six weeks to get certified. I'm honest, my word is good and my character is good. I think the county deserves better than what they've got: a man with 38 years of experience. I listen to people complain and see the tickets, the number of people at magistrate court. ...

The people Randy has hired, their treatment of the people in the county, I've listened to too many people say they were stopped for no reason and have been treated rudely. Nobody holds him accountable for stuff. I want a sheriff that, when I pick up the phone to talk to him, he listens. I think that's an important part. The people in the county are who you work for. I don't like going to the sheriff's office and talking to the glass.

When you get arrested for DWI or something else it is put in the paper and the radio that other charges and arrests are pending. It's like they try to put people down. If you get picked up for possession, OK that's it. I think it's like a character assassination to say more charges and arrests may be pending. If you get charged with one thing, that should be the end of the story. It shouldn't be left up to you or my imagination. People in this county are all good people in my opinion. There may be 5 percent that are bad.

He spent all this money on the fingerprint system, $3,000 a year for that. Why not a program to promote parents to their kids? A parent has more impact on the character of their kids and what kind of person they'll be.

I've heard that Randy will quit and put Brad Hawley in charge. It's not Randy Krukow's jail. It's the people of Clay County's jail, and the officers work for the people in Clay County and not just for Randy. He represents the people.

I can do that. I listen. I talk to people. I go all over the U.S. and talk to people of all nationalities. I've met all sorts of people and listened to them. I know the difference between right and wrong. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know the difference and know how to treat people. I went to school with Randy. I think he's gotten too political.

What do you see as major challenges facing the county and how would you like to address those challenges as sheriff?

Krukow: One of the major challenges as sheriff is serving and protecting all the citizens of Clay County 24 hours a day. To meet that challenge, I will continue to run a cost-effective organization while upholding laws to keep our county safe.

Koenig: A challenge in the county is being more respectful and listening to the people in the county. The easiest way to know the people is coffee at Hy-Vee, going to the school board meetings and going to the schools.

The kids in the county are the future of Clay County; they can't be overlooked. You see so many of them leave. To keep kids in the county is hard, and having jobs in the county. I think if you're here illegally, you need to pack a bag. If you're hiring the people who are here illegal, you should have your bag packed.

There were more people here when the packing plant was here. The population was the highest then. It's gone down. When Mr. Bushey and Mr. Nelson were sheriff there were two or three deputies. Now we have 10. Have the people gone through an epidemic so now they're worse?

I just want the county to be taken care of. If they call me up and say they need help, I'll help them. I don't want people to be afraid of the sheriff's office. If they have a problem, we can sit down and talk about it. Some things can be resolved.

I think the county is extra specially lucky to have the assistant county attorney we hired because I think she is a super person. I've met her several times. We are lucky to have this person here.

If you put young kids in a corner, how can they see a way out? A sheriff and county attorney can change people's lives so easily. That's a challenge, to enforce the law and do it fairly.

How would you continue to provide quality services to the area knowing the dollar does not stretch as far as it has in the past?

Krukow: I am currently doing this by using partnerships with other counties, cities, state and federal agencies. Some of these are the Iowa Great Lakes Drug Task Force, which involves five area county sheriff's offices and eight police departments; Lakes Area Law Enforcement Testing Coop; regional SWAT (HEAT) Team; LEIN (Iowa Law Enforcement Intelligence Network); MOCIC (Midwest Organized Crime Intelligence Center); Iowa Division of Investigation; and the FBI. I have always been conscientious about my budget, only using what is necessary and have consistently turned in unused funds at the end of the fiscal year.

Koenig: If worse comes to worse, make sure I have a few good men working for me. There are corners you can cut that Randy don't think can be. There are some things you can live without and still do a good job. I just think when you're out and around with the people and your deputies are around and know the people it makes a difference.

What would you like to see as priorities?

Krukow: My No. 1 priority has always been and will continue to be to protect and serve the citizens of Clay County.

One of my other priorities is to get the new Clay County Jail opened in the spring of 2013, which was approved by a strong majority of Clay County voters last spring. I have appreciated the opportunity to serve my county as the Clay County Sheriff and would like to continue to provide the citizens of our region with professional, compassionate law enforcement.

Koenig: Education for both officers and the people in the county to know one another better. More time with the schools in the community for drugs and alcohol, how it can ruin your life and help you make bad judgment calls.

I've lived here all my life and don't want to see kids go down the wrong road. The quality of kids here are super. They're going away to college and we're losing them. They go away and don't come back. I see that as a loss. You can't go no where and live the quality of life you can in Clay County and have everything we have: the sports, lakes, fishing, hunting, people of this county and Clay County Fair. The general life in this county is excellent.

Too many people complain about rudeness and disrespect. The only way you change anything is to get off your butt and do it. If nobody votes for me, maybe it will still turn a light on in Randy's eyes. I can do anything as good as Randy or anyone else. If someone else does it, you can do it. Nothing is stopping you from doing anything in this world but yourself. You can do anything in this world you want.

Look for previews of the following political races in upcoming editions of The Daily Reporter:

Clay County Board of SupervisorsTuesday, Oct. 30
Iowa House District 2Thursday, Nov. 1
U.S. House District 4Friday, Nov. 1
U.S. presidential raceSaturday, Nov. 2