Published 2:30 pm Thursday, May 3, 2018

Jailer candidates talk community challenges, priorities if elected


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Republicans will have two options on the ballot for Jessamine County Jailer in the May 22 primary election, incumbent Jon R. Sallee and Michael David.

Sallee, 38, is a 1998 graduate of West Jessamine High School and a 2002 graduate of the Police Academy.

His professional background includes working as a Nicholasville Police officer, Jessamine County Sheriff’s deputy, Bluegrass Airport police officer and firefighter, and 20 years as firefighter for the Jessamine County Fire District.

He has served two terms as Jessamine County Jailer

Sallee’s civic involvement includes 20 years of public service in Jessamine County as a law enforcement officer, firefighter and jailer and 12 years with the Wilmore Fire Department. He was elected to The Kentucky Jailers Association Board of Directors for 2011-12 and 2014-15; and was a member of Jessamine County Leadership class of 2011.

David, 41, is a graduate of Jessamine County High School with a professional background as a business owner and supervisor. He is self-employed. This is his first run for public office.

His civic involvement includes volunteering for numerous charity rides, veterans events, school fundraisers and other local events.

JJ: What will be your top priority if elected to office?

JS: The safety of the citizens of Jessamine County and the security of the Jessamine County Detention Center will always be my top priority. Because of this, I believe the urgent need for a new facility cannot be ignored and I have been working diligently with the fiscal court to approve this project. This remains a top priority. Also, among my highest priority is continuing to expand upon the addiction treatment programs already implemented in the facility. I will also continue to find ways to streamline costs and save taxpayer dollars on the operation of the facility.

MD: To work in conjunction with the jail board and fiscal court to provide Jessamine County with a Drug Rehabilitation Facility. This will relieve the jail of its overpopulation and open options for needed repair of the Jessamine County Detention Center. I believe this can relive taxpayers by means of available federal funding.

JJ: What makes you the best candidate for the job?

JS: I am the only candidate with public service experience.  Because of my experience in law enforcement, and because I have been the Jailer for the past seven years, I am in a position to quickly identify problems within the facility and execute effective solutions. I have worked side by side with every public safety agency in this community for the last twenty years, and these relationships are vital to the safety and success of the jail. I am passionate about public safety. My dedication to my career has been recognized on a local and national level, and I bring that same dedication and work ethic to the jail. I will continue to work to make the jail a more productive environment for the employees, the inmates and the community. Under my leadership, we have been leading the detention forward for the last seven years, and we are at a crucial point. Our community cannot afford to lose momentum in the right direction. Experience matters.

MD: I am open minded and business oriented with a strong ability to work well with others. I am motivated to assist our leaders and community in creating options to eliminate the problems we face.

JJ: What professional/political accomplishments are you most proud of in your life?

JS: When I took office as Jailer I found ways to stream line costs and cut spending my first year  by $400,000. I secured a grant to provide an aggressive roadside cleanup program, and I updated the booking process in the facility and brought in investigative tools for local law enforcement. I Started the first jail garden program in Jessamine County, the first EMT program for deputies inside the facility, the first rehabilitation program inside the facility, brought a stronger  religious presence to the jail in which we have baptized over 300 inmates which is more than any other facility in the state. I’ve accomplished every promise from my first election, other than the new facility which I have been working diligently with the Fiscal Court on for the last seven years. The following is a list of my additional political and professional accomplishments: 2008 Kentucky Peace Officer of the year; 2008 Carnegie Hero Medal; National Association of Police Officers “TOP COP” award; Wilmore Citizens Service Medal; U.S. Attorney General’s Office Jefferson Cup Award; Kentucky League of Cities Hometown Hero Award; PFLA Hero Hall of Fame Award; Jessamine County Chamber Commerce First Responder Award; Jessamine County Fire District Firefighter of the year Award.

MD: One professional achievement which I take pride in is growing a small family business with very little funds, and molding it into a much larger successful business that still thrives today. This business still remains within our family and is a proud local business. 

JJ: What is the biggest challenge our community faces?

JS: I believe the  biggest problem our community faces is addiction. Our first responders respond to numerous overdoses daily in Jessamine County. Many crimes are committed in our community to feed those addictions flooding our jail with inmates and causing major overpopulation problems. As Jailer, I have started rehabilitation programs such as “Resilience” inside the facility to help with addiction. I’m always looking for ways to strengthen and expand them, and believe their completion needs to be apart of their sentencing. I have also been working with the fiscal court to design a new facility that will alleviate the overcrowding and create more program space for rehabilitation.

MD: Our community is faced with the fiscal challenge of restoring our roads and facilities to a more structurally safe and functional state.

JJ: How do you plan to involve residents in the decision making process in our town?

JS: Due to the safety and security of the facility, it is difficult for citizens to be involved in the daily decisions of the jail. I do involve the community in our ministry and rehabilitation programs when possible. I always take concerns of the citizens of Jessamine County seriously,  and I do encourage them to attend fiscal court meetings, and also contact your magistrates and our other local officials regarding decisions being made. Do your research and get involved in the discussions regarding the future of our county.

MD: I plan to keep an open line of communication with the community by implementing both public and anonymous forums in order to gain insight into the community’s suggestions as well as complaints.

JJ: If elected, what three steps would you take to put our city on a firmer financial footing?

JS: As the Jailer, it is important to me to be fiscally responsible and a good steward to the taxpayers of Jessamine County. When I took office, I cut spending by $400,000 by streamlining costs and finding more effective ways to save money allowing for more funds to go to other resources in the community. I use inmates to work under supervision in other departments in local government to save on labor costs which allows our county to operate more efficiently. We are in the final stages of approving the construction of a new jail, which would stop the high costs of housing inmates in other counties and grow our assets putting tax dollars back in Jessamine County. We need to bring more revenue into or county government.  I recently was able to bring a business to Jessamine County that will create jobs for Nicholasville. They are already looking to expand operations bringing tax dollars in through many sources.

MD: 1. Implementing drug rehab facility to lower the population which would allow for room to make cost effective improvements that would save money on future maintenance.

2. Restructuring the current facility to hold Jessamine County’s entire detention population which will save money from paying other facilities to house our inmates.

3. Expanding the facility to house inmates from outside facilities to procure revenue.

All of which will provide Jessamine County with a Detention Center less dependent on taxpayer income.

JJ: Any additional comments?

JS: I am proud to have served Jessamine County, my hometown, as jailer for the past seven years. Over the course of my twenty year career in public safety, as a law enforcement officer, firefighter, and now your Jailer, I have gained the experience necessary to continue leading the detention center forward. I understand that the jail is a vital part in our fight against “The War on Drugs,” and so I will continue expanding  upon the addiction treatment programs implemented in the facility. I am proud to say that we have also paved the way throughout Kentucky in developing Re-Entry and Rehabilitation programs, as well as initiatives such as  “The Inmate Garden” and “The Roadside Cleanup Program.” As your jailer, I’ve proven to be fiscally responsible by streamlining and cutting operational costs and I will continue to be accountable to you, the tax payer. You can trust that I will make sure the jail remains a productive environment, and as always, the safety of the public, my staff and the inmates is my highest priority. My family and I are thankful for your continued support and ask for your vote on May 22nd.

MD: I have plans for various programs such as job training, inmate/family rehabilitation and counseling, education resources as well as more diverse religious programs. All of which will improve the recidivism rate.