Sheriff says experience makes difference in race


Jefferson County Sheriff Gerald Robinson says his background and experience outweighs that of his opponent in his bid for a fourth term.

In the Nov. 6 General Election, Robinson is being challenged by retired Arkansas State Police Investigator Roger McLemore, who is running as an independent.

“If you take away our faces and weigh our background and measure our level of experience, mine outweighs his,” Robinson said. “I’ve worked for the sheriff’s office since 1986. I’ve had to work with the people and with budgets, and the sheriff’s office has been in the black for the last six years. If it’s not broke, why try to fix it.”

During his career with the sheriff’s department, Robinson has worked in, and commanded every division, including the jail, civil, patrol, and criminal investigation. A military veteran of Desert Storm, Robinson holds a degree in business administration from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

“I’ve kept every campaign pledge I made when I first ran for sheriff,” Robinson said. “I said we were going to be tough on dead beat dads and we started the Operation Mother’s Day program. We’ve been aggressive about it and we’ve worked closely with the Child Support Enforcement Office. We’ve served over $30,000 in papers just on dead beat parents, in addition to all the other papers we serve.”

A second campaign pledge was to go after drug dealers aggressively, and Robinson said the sheriff’s department has done that by partnering with state, federal and other local agencies to crack down on drugs.

“I’ve always said that elderly people are near and dear to my heart and we started the Adopted Grandparents Program which is going full force,” Robinson. “We’ve started a mentioning program where deputies work with kids in the schools, and I said we were going to make deputies more visible and we’ve done that by increasing patrols in both the city and the county.

“Just a month ago, our CID (Criminal Investigation Division) broke up a theft ring that was working in six counties and recovered over $100,000 in stolen items,” Robinson said. “I’m proud of my record and proud of the things we’ve accomplished.”

By the end of next year, Robinson hopes the new sheriff’s department building, which will be constructed next to the adult detention center, is open.

“We will finally be able to put everybody under one roof,” he said. “We will be able to use our 21st century equipment in a 21st century building.”

If re-elected, Robinson said he wanted to work on increasing revenue for the department and for the jail, working with the state in picking up even more trash on state highways, for which the department is paid, as well as look for other revenue sources.

“We’re going to leave no rock unturned, even to picking up aluminum cans on the side of the highway,” Robinson said.

Unlike his opponent, Robinson said he favors the Zero Tolerance program the sheriff’s department has used for the past few years.

“Number one, it makes us more visible,” Robinson said. “We’re being pro-active instead of reactive, and it allows us to take care of some of the many active warrants we have in our office.

“I’ve delivered on the things I promised, and want to continue to try and make Jefferson County cleaner, safer, and to use a computer term, more user friendly,” Robinson said.