Editor's Note: This is one of the stories, which look at elections before Delaware County voters on Tuesday, April 2. Each candidate was given the same questions to answer. The following profile is based upon their submitted responses.
Two candidates, incumbent Mike Shambaugh and challenger Rick Kirby hope to serve as the next police chief for the city of Jay.
The election takes place on Tuesday, April 2. This is one of three races which have developed in Jay's city government. The others are for mayor and city treasurer.
Early voting is set for 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday and Friday, March 28 and 29, at the Delaware County Election Board office at 225 South Fifth Street in Jay. Day of election voting takes place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 2, at precincts throughout the county.
Mike Shambaugh has served as the city's police chief for the past 16 years. He is seeking re-election because he has a desire to continue to ensure public safety within the city.
"It makes me proud to know that I have lived in Jay all my life and have raised my kids here too," Shambaugh said. "I want to continue to be the police chief of Jay so I can continue to keep our town safe, so others can raise their kids here safely just like I did."
Shambaugh said he has enjoyed his time as police chief, adding it makes him proud to give back to his community.
"I got my start here 30 years ago and I’ve used that time to prepare myself to be an administrator," Shambaugh said. "This isn’t something I thought I wanted to do on the spur of the moment.
"I’ve tried to better myself and get experience throughout the years and have had many hours of training and actual police experience."
Shambaugh said he's brought the department from one which didn't have much to one that can be "run safely and efficiently."
Shambaugh has worked in law enforcement for the past 30 years, 17 of which has been in an administrative role.
"Law enforcement has changed drastically in the last 30 years since I first become an officer," he said. "I’ve had to adapt how I run my department.
"The law is always changing and you have to change with it or you’ll get left behind; especially in the area of civil liability."
More about Shambaugh
A graduate of Jay, Shambaugh attended Oral Roberts University for five years. His law enforcement experience includes one year as undersheriff for the Delaware County Sheriff's Office, multiple years as a City of Jay patrolman, and 16 years as the city's police chief. He has also served as an investigator for the county and for the District 13 Drug Task Force.
A life-long resident of Jay, Shambaugh only left to attend college and play one year in minor league baseball.
Shambaugh and his wife, Robin, have been married for 29 years. They have two sons: Cayle and Kyle, and have one "grand-dog" Layla Shambaugh.
"She is absolutely part of the family," he said.
A past board member of the Boys & Girls Club of Delaware County, Shambaugh is also a past member of the Big Brothers Jay Schools and the mentor program at Jay Schools.
He is currently a board member for United Way Delaware County.
Other contributions include serving as a speaker for the Victim Impact Panel, a featured athlete for the Oklahoma Indian Hall of Fame at the Tulsa Gilcrease Museum.
Shambaugh also serves as the District 9 tribal councilman for the Cherokee Nation, as well as a board member for the Cooperating Council.
Shambaugh said the top issues facing his department include a lack of funding for needed equipment and vehicles; improving the ever changing police/community relations and finding qualified officers to hire.
If re-elected, he said he would work to develop a system where aging vehicles are replaced two cars per year.
"If this system is not implemented then all your cars age out at the same time and it begins to cost more to fix them than they are worth," Shambaugh said. "Plus you can't afford to replace all your fleet at one time."
He also wants to develop an equipment fund, which consists of 10 percent of all tickets issued by the department, as well as grant funds.
He said transparency is the best way to improve police/community relationships.
"You have to practice good accountability anytime you deal with the public," Shambaugh said. "Everything which is public record should be made available to be seen."
He would also like to find qualified officers for the department.
"Pay has to be on par with other like departments or it’s hard to attract officers by pay alone," Shambaugh said. "A good working relationship with your city council is a must. We were recently granted a raise which allows us to compete with other agencies. Plus the Jay Police Department has a good reputation in the law enforcement community which helps with recruitment."
Shambaugh said he is proud of where the department has come from, since his first term as the chief.
"We had zero equipment," he said. "We didn't have portable radios. We had two cars, and an obsolete radio system.
"Thru the years I have been able to build up our department to where everyone now has good portable radios, a new base station as well as a newly purchased repeater which allows us to better communicate with our officers as well as the fire department and the ambulance."
He's also added a backup generator through a grant, which provides service to the department in the event of a power loss.
The department has added Dodge Chargers for all of its officers and established a school resource officer position for the Jay school system.
The officers also have tasers, which Shambaugh said provides a "less than lethal alternative weapon"
"I’m proud of the fact my department has been built up from virtually nothing to what it is today," Shambaugh said.
In terms of skills, Shambaugh believes his experience as an administrator, as well as an investigator and interviewer plays a positive role in the job as police chief.
"I have investigated major crimes and I have been very successful in the courtroom," Shambaugh said. "I have had several cases I have worked that have been studied by lawyers during law school."
He wants voters to know the role of police chief is more than a title.
"I’ve learned this job is all about communication and service," Shambaugh said. "My responsibility can be anything from going door to door in an ice storm to every house in the city, with first responders to check on people's wellbeing cause they have no electricity or heat, or in that same ice storm to have a list of people who need their generators filled up with gas every three hours and make sure that need is met.
"It can also mean responding to the school to any possible threat and communicating with all responding officers or troopers or marshals and letting them know the situation and what buildings to go to protect."
Other duties include stopping traffic for children to cross the road near the school, having officers work funeral duty, or going into the school to talk with students about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and the internet.
"Yes the police chief runs the department," Shambaugh said. "But 30 years has taught me service has many faces. I’m not above helping with anything.
"That’s how I think it should be done. The last 16 years have been an honor. I’d love to do it for four more years."
Rick Kirby is challenging Mike Shambaugh for the role of Jay Police Chief.
He decided to get back into law enforcement, by running for chief, out of a desire to see things get done within the community.
"What was getting done was being mishandled due to personal gain or conflict of interest," Kirby said. "It's not fair to our community and it's time for a change."
Kirby describes himself as "a genuine person."
"What you see is what you get," he said. "I value honesty, integrity, morals and a true desire to help people. I am proactive, i'm not a procrastinator."
If elected, Kirby said he will try to "anticipate the needs of the people."
"I plan to get the drugs out of this town," Kirby said. "I want the officers actively patrolling, making their presence known to try and prevent some of the crime or at least deter it."
More about Kirby
Kirby was born and raised in Jay. A graduate of Jay High School he attended Northeast Oklahoma A&M in Miami. His background in law enforcement comes from time with the Jay Police Department.
Kirby and his wife, Arawana Buckett Kirby, have five grown sons: Andy, Erick, Jared, Bronson and Gabe Edmondson.
The top issues Kirby sees facing the city centers around drugs and the need to remove that culture from Jay.
"Drugs are huge problem in this town and the abuse and business of those illicit drugs leads to additional and/or violent crimes such as thefts and assaults," Kirby said.
Other issues include keeping students safe within the community.
"Our children's safety is paramount, especially while they are at school," Kirby said. "It is important to formulate and implement a set plan of action toward a possible or an eminent threat."
He also believes animal control is an issue to many residents.
"Everyone should be safe while walking down the street or to the park," he said. "No one should have to worry about their property being destroyed because of an irresponsible pet or livestock owner."
Kirby said he's strived to live his life like his father, by just helping people whenever possible.
"Not because they can do something for you, but just because it's the right thing to do," Kirby said.