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Incumbent Ron Ball running against Brodie Riding for Madison County Sheriff

Ron Ball, left and Brodie Riding. | Courtesy photos
REXBURG — Incumbent Ron Ball is running against Brodie Riding to be the sheriff in Madison County.
Ball was appointed by the county commissioners as the Madison County Sheriff in November. Riding previously worked for the Madison County Sheriff’s Office for 15 years.
This position is a four-year term. Both candidates were at the Romance Theater earlier in May, giving Rexburg residents an opportunity to hear from them.
RELATED | Candidates discuss their priorities in Rexburg ‘Meet the Candidates’ forum
Click here to view Ball’s campaign website.
Click here to view Riding’s campaign website.
EastIdahoNews.com sent the same eight questions to each county candidate. Their responses, listed below, were required to be 250 words or less. EastIdahoNews.com is publishing the answers in their entirety and without grammatical or style editing.
The primary election is May 21.
Tell us about yourself — include information about your family, career, education, volunteer work and any prior experience in public office.
Ball: I appreciate the opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Ron Ball and I am currently the Madison County Sheriff. I have lived my whole life in Eastern Idaho and have been married to my wife, Julie Bischoff, for 32 years. We have four children and two grandchildren, with a third on the way. They all live in the Rexburg area. This community has the family values that I want for my children and grandchildren.
I have 32 years of law enforcement experience, including time in patrol, canine, drug task force, detective, FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, and 13 years as the lieutenant over the Detective Division of the Rexburg Police Department. In November of 2023, I was unanimously appointed by the County Commissioners as the Madison County Sheriff.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of Charleston, West Virginia, and am a graduate of the FBI National Academy, where only one percent of all law enforcement officers are invited to attend. I hold Basic, Intermediate, Advanced and Management Certifications from Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission (POST).
I have served in the community as a Family Crisis Center board member for 10 years – President for 6 years. I served as President of the American Legion Baseball Association and coached various youth sports teams including football, baseball, softball and basketball. I am currently a referee for District Six and Idaho State High School Football Referee Associations, a former youth Hunters Education Instructor and am a D.A.R.E Board Member.
Riding: My name is Brodie Riding, a proud native of Rexburg. I graduated from Madison High School in 2000, after which I served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the Philippines, Cebu mission.  Upon my return, I met my wife, Cynthia, and we have been blessed with four children. I have dedicated 15 years to serving at the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, starting as a reserve patrol Deputy and climbing the ranks to corporal and then sergeant in the patrol division. Additionally, I have spent a decade on the S.W.A.T team, eventually leading it as commander. Currently, I volunteer at my local church and assist in coaching a youth football team, finding joy in watching the growth of our community’s youth. While this is my first venture into public office, my commitment to service runs deep.
Why are you seeking political office? Briefly explain your political platform.
Riding: I am seeking political office to serve my community diligently. My platform revolves around safeguarding our youth and schools, tackling the scourge of drug abuse, addressing mental health issues, and prioritizing the recruitment and retention of skilled personnel at the Sheriff’s Office. Protecting our youth involves collaborating with school officials to fortify security measures. Combatting drug abuse, especially the fentanyl crisis, which demands increased resources and vigilance. Prioritizing mental health training for law enforcement ensures appropriate responses to crises. Recruiting and retaining quality employees are pivotal for organizational success.
Ball: Madison County is a great place to raise a family and it is important to me keep it safe for my family and all who reside in this community. Since the day I took office, I said that I want to take a good office and make it even better. I have made it a goal to make every employee feel that I am invested in them and the success of the Sheriff’s Office.
My platform emphasizes Experience, Integrity and Leadership. With over 32 years of experience, there isn’t much that I haven’t seen or done in law enforcement. My experience has prepared me for the most challenging circumstances. I have supervised investigators in some of the most heinous crimes imaginable and worked with state and federal officers on large-scaled investigations.
Integrity and honesty are two of the most important fundamental requirements of any law enforcement officer. I believe these qualities are even more important as a leader. I try to maintain integrity and honesty in my job and in my daily actions. In my extensive career, I have never been disciplined, demoted or suspended for any reason because ethics are important to me and I aim to be an example to those I serve and those I serve with.
Leadership is earned, not given. Our actions dictate what kind of leaders we are. Twenty-five years of my career have been in leadership positions. I not only strive to be a good leader but to inspire others to develop leadership skills for the future.
What areas in your county need immediate improvement? What actions will you take to address those needs?
Ball: When I was appointed as Sheriff, I saw some areas that I thought needed improvement within the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, and I have diligently worked to address those. One need I saw was in dispatch, as the Madison County Sheriff’s Office was frequently losing dispatchers to other agencies. I have organized dispatch, giving them a ranking structure and a line of authority. I felt like this was needed to attract and retain dispatchers. We have also recently opened a new 911 center.
I also saw the need to start an emergency response team, which Madison County hasn’t had for the past 4 or 5 years. I felt like this was an important need for the County. I have done that and we will be working with neighboring agencies who I have a great working relationship with, to train and develop members of this team.
A big concern with law enforcement is the ongoing epidemic of mental health. In my career, I have attended far too many calls involving mental health issues, including suicide, substance abuse, and addiction. I plan to work with the new Center for Hope Recovery Center, which recently opened in Rexburg and utilize the resources they provide. I will be an active participant in finding means to help those in need, as well as early intervention programs to implement within the community.
I intend to work with the Madison County Commissioners and the other county offices to make sure all the needs of the county are being addressed.
Riding: Immediate improvement in our county necessitates enhanced community engagement. Utilizing social media and conducting face-to-face meetings, we will solicit public input to identify and address priority areas.
What are the greatest long-term challenges facing people in your county? What is your plan to meet those challenges?
Riding: Long-term challenges include managing the growth of our county. Expanding the Sheriff’s Office and securing reliable personnel are crucial steps to meet this demand.
Ball: The population of Madison County continues to grow and with that growth comes challenges. In the last few years we have seen murders, officer involved shootings, the rise of fentanyl abuse and the exploitation of children on the internet, just to name a few. The challenge is to stay ahead of the game. My plan is to put into place a full-time drug enforcement officer to work closely with detectives from the Rexburg Police Department and from surrounding agencies to combat the war on drugs. We have in place a detective that works closely with the Attorney General’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Recently this task force has made arrests of individuals that live within Madison County.
Training is important so that we can interact appropriately with those we serve. We also need good quality officer safety training for our officers. New techniques and tools are being taught all the time and the challenge is to keep officers well trained. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to have an adequate training budget. Staying competitive in wages and benefits is important, but working to make the Sheriff’s Office a place where people can work and enjoy their job is just as important. I believe in and strive to be invested in my employees and to help them succeed.
I intend to continue to be involved within the Madison County community, so I can be aware of issues facing the citizens and what their concerns are.
How will you best represent the views of your constituents – even those with differing political views? How will you communicate directly with constituents?
Ball: I intend to support and defend the Constitution and to serve and protect all citizens. Sheriffs are accountable to all constituents of the county regardless of sex, race, party lines, etc. All Sheriffs have taken this oath and are responsible to adhere to the promise. As the Sheriff, I know how important it is to listen and work with the citizens of the county I represent. Two of the best ways to represent the public is to never do anything to lose their trust and to always be transparent. That can be communicated through my actions.
As your Sheriff I would strive to never do anything to tarnish the office. Sheriffs and their deputies are often the ones that many turn to in time of crisis and that is why faith in the Sheriff’s Office is so important. My office door is always open and will always remain open for anyone who wants to express a concern or an idea of what we, as an office, can do better. Even if their views may be different than mine, it’s important to be willing to listen and take into consideration their point of view.
My ideas should be communicated with our citizens by the way of the press, social media and community gatherings. I want people to know that they can come to the Office of the Sheriff of Madison County and sit down with me and be heard. An honest dialect proves to be the best path to a solution.
Riding: Representing diverse viewpoints requires active listening and fostering open communication. I will accommodate various communication preferences, ensuring all constituents feel heard and valued.
What parts of the county budget could use more funding? Where are places in the budget that cuts could be made?
Riding: Additional funding should be allocated to training and employee wages to maintain high standards and retention. Budget cuts, if necessary, could be explored in other area areas like vehicle maintenance.
Ball: County governments tend to be fiscally responsible in setting county budgets and monitoring spending of those funds. I feel like I can work within the budget set to make the best choices and provide for the needs of the Madison County Sheriff’s Office. Those parts of the county budget that could always use more funding are pay, benefits and training. These areas are paramount in retaining good, trained, personnel. It’s also challenging to provide the best up-dated equipment for our deputies to use in the various aspects of their jobs. The last thing any Sheriff would ever want is to lose employees because of budget constraints. This is why it’s important to be creative where you receive your funding by utilizing potential grants to supplement these areas. Various grants are available and should be carefully considered and aggressively pursued. Unlike a municipality, counties are limited to a 3% increase in budget. That increase needs to be used wisely.
Typically, when budget cuts are made, they are in the areas of training and equipment. The services we provide to citizens are essential and keeping our training and equipment top notch is important. Reduction in training translates into staff that are less capable of handling difficult situations. I intend to make sure we have certified instructors within our department and in cooperation with neighboring agencies, to keep training costs down. Of course, I will always be mindful of places where funds could better be utilized within the Sheriff’s budget.
What is the role of local media in your community? How can county officials work to have a better relationship with the media?
Ball: It would be detrimental for any Sheriff’s Office to not have a good relationship with the media. Emergency responders can benefit from the media to keep the public informed about crisis situations or events. One role of the media is to gather information and correctly relay that information to help educate the public. In today’s world with so many different types of media avenues like Facebook, Instagram and others, stories are being reported before departments have a chance to prepare statements. We live in a world where people carry hand-held devices that they can look up anything almost instantly.
Most media personnel in our area are great to work with. I have talked with reporters in several different situations. I have a good relationship with many news outlets and that cooperation is vital so the media realizes why, at times, you cannot release certain information because of an ongoing investigation or a court order.
We use the media to promote the Sheriff’s Office and support a positive image in the community. I believe the community wants to know what we are doing as an organization and I would rather have a relationship where I could have a dialogue and relay information as I want it heard. If that relationship is not there, then the media has to report on what information they have and this leads to distrust. We need to train our officers how to interact with the media and remain transparent with them and in return, we will receive the public’s trust.
Riding: Local media plays a vital role in informing the community. Regular meetings between officials and media outlets can foster transparency and trust, benefiting both parties and the public.
Voter turnout and participation continues to be low in Idaho. What efforts can be made to stimulate greater voter involvement in elections and government?
Riding: Stimulating voter involvement entails proactive outreach through multiple channels and ensuring easy access to polling locations. Simplifying the voting process can encourage greater participation.
Ball: As I have prepared to run for and keep the office of Sheriff, voter turnout is always on my mind. Elections for County offices are often decided during a primary election. This can, at times discourage people from voting when in reality, it should bring them out to vote. In my campaign, I am going to talk to people and encourage them to them to register to vote, if they aren’t registered, and to find their precinct and polling place where they should vote. I will also promote absentee voting for those who are not able to go to their polling place on election day.
I intend to put a link on my election website (voteronballforsheriff.com) and Facebook page (Ron Ball for Madison County Sheriff) that will take voters directly to where they can register and find out information on their polling place. During my campaign as I talk to people in the community, I will encourage them to make sure they are registered, and get out to vote, so their voices can be heard. I will also work to inform those I come in contact with regarding the other issues on the ballot so that I can answer any questions if I am asked.
I have looked into past voter turn-outs at elections in Madison County, and I hope to come up with a plan to get the word out to all demographics by social media, personal interaction, and meeting with community groups.
The post Incumbent Ron Ball running against Brodie Riding for Madison County Sheriff appeared first on East Idaho News.
Source: eastidahonews.com

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