GILLETTE, Wyo. — County 17 has sent out a questionnaire to those running in the primary election in August. The following are the answers from Scott Matheny, who is seeking reelection as Campbell County Sheriff.
- Who are you? (name, where you’re from, employment, hobbies, etc.)
Scott Matheny, my children are the fourth generation Matheny’s to graduate from Campbell County Highschool. My family homesteaded in the Recluse area north of town. I enjoy family and friends and have worked at the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office for the last 36 years.
- Why have you decide to run for office and what do you hope to accomplish should you be elected?
I still have much to offer this community that I grew up in as Sheriff of Campbell County. The Campbell County Sheriff’s Office has established a great rapport with the community. I want to continue that. I feel it is important as the Chief Law Enforcement Officer in Campbell County to have experience in dealing with the Federal Government, whether it is Gun Control or Mask Mandates. I have that experience in strengthening community relationships with the citizens of Campbell County. I want to continue to make the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office one of the best most respected agencies in the state of Wyoming.
- How do you plan on accomplishing your goals?
To listen to the citizens of Campbell County and continue do what we have been doing for the last 8 years.
- What experience do you have that qualifies you for the office you are seeking?
I believe experience does matter. I have a four-year college degree in administration. I have 36 years of law enforcement experience. I was Undersheriff for 12 years and Sheriff for 8 years. I am a graduate of the FBI Executive Command School. I have 3450 hours of Peace Officer Standard Training and so I believe experience does matters as I am the most experienced candidate for Sheriff.
- Do you feel you could be, or have been, a good steward of taxpayer dollars? Why or why not?
The Campbell County Sheriff’s Office is an emergency service operation that provides safety to the citizens of Campbell County. It is extremely rare that our budget is reduced. In fact, never has a Sheriff had to reduce a budget in the past but in the 2017-18 budget year and 2021-2022 budget year we had to do just that. In doing so, we had to get creative about doing more with less. One example of that was the creating of the Campbell County 24/7 Program which has been one of the most successful programs in the state. It allows participants who are in the program to continue to be productive members of our community and saves the tax payers money and resources by not having participants in jail. The Gillette Police Department and the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office are interested in combining communication dispatch centers which would save money in the long run to the County and the City. Most major communities in the State of Wyoming have one communication center. Having a single dispatch center would be beneficial to taxpayers because of the duplication in the two communication centers now.
- Marijuana legalization, or at the very least decriminalization, is on the minds of the public and public officials alike. Where do you stand on marijuana legalization? What would your office’s stance be if marijuana was decriminalized?
Our job is to enforce the law. Whatever is written we are going to enforce. I am against marijuana legalization. Take a look at Colorado to see the problems that have arrived since the legalization of Marijuana. Crime has increased, homeless and mental health issues as well. I have devoted most of my career on the education of marijuana and have seen what those effects have on communities that have legalized marijuana and the problems that law enforcement have in those communities. I do not want to have those issues in Campbell County or the State of Wyoming.
- Should you be elected, or re-elected, where do you stand on the issue of constitutional vs. community policing?
I don’t think it has to be either constitution policing or community policing. I believe they both can and do work together. Every Deputy that I swear in, that puts on the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office badge, solemnly swears or affirms that they will support, obey and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Wyoming. Constitutional policing – is policing that upholds peoples civil rights spelled out in the Constitution. It makes sure that law enforcement officers treat everyone fair and impartial. We are bound by those principles.
Community Policing is working with the community and identifying problems, meeting with them and coming up with solutions to those problems such as neighborhood watch and Citizens on Patrol programs. It also is more of a proactive approach that has officers get involved in the community before something happens rather than just sitting back and reacting to calls. The Campbell County Sheriff’s Office has been very involved in the community. The Deputies are in the schools coaching, teaching and mentoring. They are involved in 4-H, Scouts, Hunter Safety and even women handgun classes. They are active in their churches teaching bible study, youth groups and Sunday school. Because of this involvement, the community as reacted to the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office in one of the most positive ways ever.
- The position you are running for has minimum criteria. Do you believe there are additional qualifications or characteristics that would help the person who will hold this office be best suited for the position? If so, how do you meet those additional criteria? In what ways can you improve as a leader and/or as a law enforcement professional?
I believe any additional experience one has would only be beneficial to the job as Sheriff. Again, experience matters. You are not required to be certified as a Peace Officer but obviously that certification would be a benefit. Any additional schooling or training is important. Having a college education would be an added benefit. It can only help. Having the ability to network with other agencies and develop a rapport and pooling your resources together has always been a benefit for all those involved. Campbell County Sheriff’s Office has created that respect locally and around the State of Wyoming. I have a Bachelors degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting.
Having a college degree in administration so you can put together a multi-million-dollar budget with the knowledge of overseeing is extremely important in this position. The past 8 years as Sheriff and prior 12 as Undersheriff is valuable experience to the budget process.
- What are the biggest challenges facing the Sheriff’s Office? How do you plan to address them?
Campbell County has been blessed with the ability to put resources into their emergency services. We currently have one of the best, most respected agencies in the State of Wyoming because of those resources. Recently we had to reduce our budget on two different budget years because those resources were not available. We have had to learn to do more with less because with the current climate in our nation, we have had more people move into our area than those moving out. With no border security in our nation, we are feeling the effects in Campbell County. Drugs and Human Trafficking are at an all time high in our nation. Campbell County Sheriff’s Office still takes a hard stance on controlled substances in our county by enforcing the existing laws and also educating the public about the harmful effects and consequences of using controlled substances.
- What do you believe is the role of the Sheriff’s Office in addressing the homelessness and mental health issues within Campbell County?
First and foremost, our job is to keep the community safe and secure and to make sure our officers go home safe to their families every day. That is the number one priority. When it comes to homelessness and mental health issues it seems that others think that we should act outside our jurisdiction and do more like house some of those individuals in our jail just because there is no other options. Most of those individuals do not belong in jail. They need treatment outside of what law enforcement can provide. As a result, we have had to train our officers dealing with the many issues that come with mental health and homelessness.
I believe Campbell County needs more resources especially in the area of Mental Health. Jail is not the place for them. I also believe that law enforcement and the Homeless shelter work very well together in Campbell County.
11. On the issue of transparency, where do you stand on ensuring all public business is conducted openly and in a manner that encourages public attendance? How have you made your office or board more transparent and open with the public?
My door is always open to the public. The Campbell County Sheriff’s Office is available to the public 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. There is always someone at the office, even on weekends and after hours. Me and my sworn staff are always available to the public at all hours of the day. We frequently handle public calls after hours, on weekends and on vacation. We all have the ability to communicate at all times. In addition we meet with the press every day of the week to discuss reports taken the prior day. They decide what they want information to report on and then disperse it.
The Campbell County Sheriff’s Office responds to the highest volume of public records requests of any office in the county government. Not only do we respond to the highest volume, my staff are some the most knowledgeable and best trained county employees on how to respond to requests under the Wyoming Public Records Act. Other county entities have modeled their procedures after the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office.