Name and age: Brent Campbell, 44.
Office sought: Howell County Sheriff
Occupation: I’m currently a reserve deputy with the Howell County Sheriff’s Office. In compliance with federal law, in order to run for sheriff, I had to resign from my position with the South Central Drug Task Force.
Are you native to the area? Yes, born and raised here and honored to raise my family here.
Please tell us about your family. Blessed to be married to my beautiful wife Jenni of 15 years. She is an educator at West Plains High School, where she teaches psychology and sociology. I'm proud to say she started the criminal justice elective at the high school and teaches it too. We have three amazing kids, Ava, Jacy and Liam.
Are you incumbent? If so, how long have you been in office? No.
Education or experience that you feel qualifies you for the position: I graduated from West Plains High School in 1994. In 1999, I graduated top of my class from the Moberly Area Community College Law Enforcement Training Center Academy with a Class-B license. I became a full-time patrolman in Howell County. I have had over 2,800 hours of professional development of law enforcement with concentration in clandestine lab operations, illegal drug investigations and leadership development, presented by various agencies accredited through the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies.
In 2003, I was selected for employment within the multi-jurisdictional South Central Drug Task Force, a federally funded program coordinated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol where I conducted over 17 years of overt and covert Narcotic/Vice Operations throughout Howell, Ozark, Douglas, Ripley, Oregon, Carter, Wright, Texas, Shannon, Dent, Reynolds, Phelps and Pulaski counties in southern Missouri. During my service with South Central Drug Task Force, I have been assigned as a team leader for six of those years and have been involved in multitudinous operations resulting in the reduction of the manufacturing and distribution of illegal drugs, and the associated crimes.
In 2019, I served as a member of a panel addressing the trends leading to the epidemic of opioid and substance abuse at the four-state Region VII Opioid and Substance Abuse Conference. I’m also a licensed Department of Public Safety Instructor who teaches approved courses in the area of Interpersonal Perspectives, Legal Studies, Technical Studies and Skill Development in the field of Law Enforcement.
Why are you running for this position? Early in my law enforcement career I knew one day this would be a goal to seek the elected position as sheriff of Howell County. I believe it's a calling and everything in my career has led me in this direction. Starting with relationships being built both within this community and outside this community. Some of these relationships include local, state and federal agencies, leaders, professionals and citizens that have assisted me in my vision for the Howell County Sheriff's Office and creating a better strategy for community-policing. I want to continue to build upon relationships made by former law enforcement officials and myself to provide the best law enforcement responses to community needs.
What issue do you think is most important to voters in this area? How do you plan to address this issue? Service to the citizens. We are all in this together. Service is 50% of what we do. From implementing systems approach to every aspect of the sheriff's office from incident calls, to investigations and follow-ups, all the way through to the adjudication of a case. The citizens will be on the forefront of every aspect of the office of sheriff and those that carry out its duties. Developing and implementing a systems approach to leadership, operations, development, training and education, that provide empowerment, discipline and accountability.
Providing professional development, opportunity and training for employees to inspire and motivate them to better serve Howell County citizens. Building forms of measurement and accountability. Working with the citizens on how we can better serve them. Working with the court system, prosecutors and judges. Building community collaborative efforts and seeking out solutions to problems we face together.
Similarly, what single issue do you think is most critical to address in the area served by the office you’re seeking? My first duty would be to keep you, your family and visitors safe. I have worked on the frontlines when both the methamphetamine and opioid crisis hit our county and have had firsthand experience dealing with drug abuse, prevention, addiction, violent crime and high-risk situations associated with the epidemic of substance abuse.
How do you plan to address it? I will implement educational programs and drug awareness programs that helps neighbors identify needs and help those struggling with addiction to break free. I have been speaking with other area law enforcement leaders and developing plans to combat these issues on a joint level. What affects surrounding counties, area cities and surrounding citizens effects Howell County and its citizens. The current catch-and-release system within our court systems needs to be addressed. If that failure point is within the enforcement realm, I will work with deputies and prosecutors to educate deputies on better case documentation and presentation. If the issue is beyond the local jurisdiction, I will take these concerns to whatever level is needed.
To break the cycle of recidivism I believe in words like hope, purpose, responsibility and opportunity. I have plans to work with the court system to have offenders sentenced to the Howell County jail and implement inmate work and education programs. I'm currently still developing and working out the logistics, but basically I feel offenders should give back to the community in some form, and I will educate them in some manner to provide opportunity after their completion of their sentence.
Briefly describe the top three most important issues to your campaign platform: Service of the citizens: intertwining the community tightly with the sheriff's office so those that serve never forget their "why" through community outreach and collaborative efforts. Along with transparency and effective education instilling confidence and trust.
Have you received any endorsements? Please list: The South Central Regional Lodge 43 of the Fraternal Order of Police, Retired Sheriff Bill Sheppard of Howell County, Retired Sheriff Carl Watson of Texas County and the support of a vast number of law enforcement professionals and business owners.
Any additional general comments? You'll never meet anyone more passionate than I am about the citizens of this county and the ones who have chosen this profession to protect and serve. I feel we can build upon my vision which is grounded in our communities traditions, values, and beliefs earned throughout my law enforcement career and feedback from citizens and professionals. I look forward to the possibility of building upon the trust of the public and forging lifelong partnerships in pursuit of a better quality of life for all citizens and servants who selflessly serve our community.
I am absolutely honored and humbled to be a candidate for the office of sheriff. I sincerely appreciate the feedback enabling my growth and vision of the changing dynamics of law enforcement here in Howell County. Please join the vision, and vote.