Q&A with York County Sheriff candidates: Shane Becker

Staff report

Two candidates will appear on the ballot in the Nov. 5 election for York County sheriff.

Incumbent Republican Richard Keuerleber is taking on his former deputy Shane Becker.

Keuerleber narrowly defeated Becker in the GOP primary last May, garnering 52% of the vote. But Becker ran a successful write-in campaign for the Democratic nomination and will appear as a Democrat in November.

As part of The York Dispatch's ongoing election coverage, we posed five questions to the candidates. Below are Becker’s responses.

Shane Becker

Shane Becker: Republican, appearing on the ballot as a Democrat

Age: 56

Family: Three daughters.

Occupation: Adams County sheriff’s deputy

Education: Christian School of York; Dover Area High School; attended York College, attaining credits in police science courses; HACC Police Academy Training Act 120; received over 80 certificates in police training, United Nations High-Risk Close Protection Training, including anti-terrorist and tactics; U.S. Department of State High-Threat High-Risk Personal Protection Training; Penn State Deputy Sheriff Training Act 2.

Community involvement: Attend York City Community Resource meetings; speak to students in schools during career-development days, assist at local church events, and regular visits to communities for aging and VFWs.

Question: How would you describe morale at the York County Sheriff’s Office and what would you do to improve it if needed?

Answer: Morale is at an all-time low and this is not just based on my tenure at the York County Sheriff’s Office, but based on the overwhelming majority of current deputies and former deputies.  The improvements that would need to change would start at the very top of management. Firstly, you need a leader who cares about people, which means supporting them, giving them clarity, encouragement and appreciating their value, making them feel vested in their job and their department. Rather than creating a daily stressful work environment for which they fear termination, providing positive direction and respect would be the recipe for retention.

Question: The sheriff’s office provides security at the York County Judicial Center and other county government buildings. Recently, the adequacy of that security was questioned by the county commissioners and a county judge. Was that criticism fair, and if so what should be done to improve security?

Answer: The criticism from the county commissioners and a county judge was more than fair and accurate. To avoid divulging security weaknesses and putting the judicial center at risk I can only state that they are clear and present to a trained professional. To improve security you need a leader that can stand out with a broad knowledge base, extensive training at the highest level and years of experience in the security field.  For myself, I have been exposed to a lifetime of security both domestically and abroad from the lowest level to the high-threat situations. You will quickly understand that security measures will always have to be tested, evaluated and changed accordingly. Relying on the quote “We have always done it this way” is sheer complacency and is a recipe for disaster.  

Question: Please list three ways to improve efficiency at the sheriff’s office for the good of the staff and taxpayers.

Answer: In order to run an efficient office and a successful team, management must realize their strengths and weaknesses and utilize the strengths of the entire staff, working together as a cohesive team, giving them a sense of self-worth, being vested, which benefits the sheriff’s office and those they serve. This in turn will greatly reduce the revolving door, which is a loss of approximately $35,000 to train and equip a deputy.

Schedule changes to more than an eight-hour shift will greatly reduce the overtime costs and will allow overlap of manpower to support several other operations conducted within and outside of the judicial center making the county safer.

Deputies should be stationed to the outlying regions of York County in Shrewsbury, Hanover and Dillsburg to assist with adult probation, local police, and warrant service. This will enable both agencies to work more efficiently and increase warrants served while decreasing recidivism.

Question: Moving forward, how would you avoid allegations of conflicts of interests and political favoritism?

Answer: To avoid allegations of conflict of interest and political favoritism is to follow your policy and procedures that are set in place, only then will everyone be treated with the same equality. However, there will be those occasions that policy might not cover the situation and you must rely on your integrity and judgment of which I have proven.

Question: Why are you the better choice for sheriff than your challenger?

Answer: In an ever-changing world, the most important issue facing the sheriff’s office is security. With over 20 years’ experience as a York County police officer, with several life-saving merits of commendation, seven years overseas as a team leader in high-threat, high-risk security of U.S. ambassadors and dignitaries, 1.5 years with the United Nations in Kosovo, five years with the U.S. Department of State in Baghdad, and six months with the U.S. Department of State in Kabul, Afghanistan, along with over five years deputy sheriff, I have the experience and knowledge needed to run a successful office, manage a team and work well with other departments. The diversity of my life experience creates the qualities needed to encourage growth, implement a new vision of creative problem solving and actions to benefit all.

More:Former York County sheriff's deputy challenging his old boss

More:Q&A with York County Sheriff candidates: Richard Keuerleber