Kristin Bantle: A new paradigm of transparency and accountability
October 17, 2018
My core values are rooted in my community, expressed through my collaboration, heard when I communicate and demonstrated by my compassion. I have proven that I will stand up for this community, and I will continue to do so as sheriff. I possess the collaboration skills to successfully merge the Steamboat Springs Police Department and the Routt County Sheriff's Office into the same building while maintaining the autonomy of these two important institutions. I believe that communication starts with listening for the purpose of understanding, not just responding. I believe that compassion is a strength, not a weakness. Compassion and empathy are key tools used in de-escalating tense and life-threatening situations. My compassion shines through my volunteer work and the respect, dignity and fair treatment of my coworkers and community members I interact with on a daily basis
Seventeen years ago, I left my career as a social worker specializing in domestic violence and sexual assault cases because I saw a need for women in law enforcement. As a child forensic interviewer and expert in violence against women and children, I have continued to hone in my technical skills by obtaining a master’s degree in psychology and communication. As a board member for the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault, I have forged statewide connections allowing me to bring the needs of our community to the policy makers in our capital. I have many years of experience in rural law enforcement, so I know what it's like to wait for a half-hour or more for backup. A nonthreatening demeanor along with a “roll with the punches” attitude has allowed me to successfully navigate my way through a very male dominated profession.
Before moving my family to Routt County, I easily researched the quality of the school districts. Assessing the performance of our sheriff’s office should be just as easy. I intend to implement a similar model of evaluation for the most powerful institution within local government. The responsibility that comes with the power to cage a person and use deadly force should never be left to self-reporting. Specifically, I will implement a 360 degree evaluation process and publish the evaluation given to me by my employees. My hope is to have a system that outlasts my tenure and is used as an example for law enforcement to emulate across the great state of Colorado.
I have held many positions as a law enforcement officer — detective, sergeant, hostage negotiator — but my favorite position is that of an educator. And my favorite thing about education is the empowerment that comes from it. Whether teaching self-defense at the senior center, talking to teenage girls about sexual assault, or explaining to mothers to teach their children to find another mommy if they get lost, all these lessons have lasting value and make for a safer community. I've also had the privilege of being a school resource officer, developing relationships based on trust and allowing children to come forward to talk about sensitive topics. Law enforcement alone does not make for a safer community. It is the collaborative relationship between community members and law enforcement that lays the foundation for the safe and healthy place we call home.
As your sheriff, I promise to manage the Routt County Sheriff Office to the highest ethical standards. I promise to create a new paradigm of transparency and accountability. I promise to live my values of community, collaboration, communication and compassion every day that I serve the great people of Routt County. My name is Kristin Bantle, and I want your vote.
Routt County sheriff Democratic candidate