BY LINDA SUTTER
If the California Legislature takes away gun rights for citizens, how would you react as Sheriff?
“I wouldn’t react. I will have no part in disarming otherwise law abiding citizens”.
Erik Apperson was born at Seaside Hospital, in Crescent City California. By the age of three, he had lost both parents to drunk drivers, and was raised by his grandparents. Erik Apperson Completed high school right here in Del Norte County and begin getting interested in law enforcement at the age of 15 when he became an Explorer. By the age of 18 he attained his first job as a security guard for the Elk Valley Casino, worked one year and then became a Correctional Officer for the Del Norte County Juvenile Department. Within two years he would test to become a police officer for the Crescent City Police Department.
During his career with the Crescent City Police Department, Erick worked as the school resource officer, became President of the Police Officers Association for eight years, was the Crime Free Housing Coordinator and also served on the Gang Task Force. Erik is a Use of Force Instructor, Field Training Officer, Explorer Advisor and a Range Master. All traits needed to assure that his deputies if elected, would benefit from ongoing training. Eric was promoted to Sergeant in 2010.
As a Sergeant in a small rural department, his administrative duties included assurance that officers were receiving adequate training, keeping a balanced budget, keeping employee schedules, all the while making sure the department fulfills their mission to provide a high level of service to the community.
He has been very active within the community. Erik taught a course at Del Norte High for five school years; An Introduction to Criminal Law and the course was articulated by College of the Redwoods.
He created an annual leadership academy for our youth eleven years ago in response to the inability to fund sending local kids out of the area for leadership training. The event has since grown into a destination for agencies out of our area to send their youth (Redwood Coast Explorer Leadership Academy).
What will be different if you are elected?
I think what separates me most from the other candidates is clearly my age. I hope the voters realize that makes me very desirable because I absolutely have to do a good job. I will say nothing negative about the other candidates and I say this with the upmost respect; they are either at or past the age of retirement. That means that all three of them don’t need to be concerned about their next term. If I have the privilege of serving as our next Sheriff then I will take office at the age of 36. That means I absolutely have to be the voice of this community when it comes to reducing crime. My personal ideology and beliefs almost don’t matter. If I don’t serve our public adequately and remain popular then I will be unemployed at 40 years old. I will also still have four children living at home and nowhere near old enough to retire. Simply put, I have to solve problems in Del Norte County effectively, efficiently and consistently. My concerns have to be the concerns of our residents. I must be a reflection of the consensus.
How are you going to restore the faith of the public about your office?
I think this goes back to communication. One complaint I hear frequently is a lack of response. I think this is actually a communication issue. It seems like everyone has a story about asking for a deputy to respond and that deputy never appearing. I would like to believe that’s because they were busy handling in progress and volatile calls. The problem is when a request is answered only by silence and waiting, then the reporting party is left to their own devices to assume worst case scenario. They begin to feel unimportant and hopeless. A simple call back from the dispatcher to remind the caller that law enforcement is busy but the request for service is important and will have a response, could remedy those feelings. That being said, all requests for law enforcement will have a response, no exceptions.
I also have many solutions for a more efficient operation that will reduce the response times for calls for service. People need to know that if they call for help, law enforcement will respond in a timely fashion. I have simple solutions to make that happen.
In addition, there needs to be transparency. The Sheriff’s Office is a public organization. I would hope to create citizen based review boards and oversight committees. These groups would consist of non-law enforcement volunteers within our community that are willing to review operations of the Sheriff’s Office and provide their findings.
Finally, I would empower and educate the members of this community by developing community programs that forge partnerships between local law enforcement and the public we are sworn to serve.
Every member of this community has a voice and I believe those voices deserve to be heard.
What is your opinion about registering guns? Is that the first step towards confiscation?
Although it’s a pain, I believe that gun registration is necessary. Guns get stolen and sadly, they also get used to commit crimes. Registration helps to solve cases and keep people safe. Think about domestic violence, restraining orders, convicted felons and so on. I do not believe that registration is the first step to confiscation but I can see the concern regarding that information being abused.
What are your feelings regarding fiscal responsibility?
My feelings on this subject are strong. As a law enforcement agency, we are spending public money and responsible spending is paramount. That means spend what you have as effectively as possible and don’t over spend. It’s that simple. If you can, generate funds to help reduce dependency on your allotment of the budget. The rules for a seven-million dollar budget are the same rules that apply to a seven-hundred dollar budget.
Erik Apperson. Young, ambitious, no-frills kind of officer. If elected, he promises to be fair, consistent, impartial, giving the public 120% as a working sheriff. His concern is public safety. He states he will not tolerate abuse under the color of authority, nor would Erik Apperson hide behind a computer and inform the public, ” It’s my job to find grants not patrol,” as quoted by Sheriff Dean Wilson at his Kick off election party.