Otoe County Sheriff—Republican
Continuing positive change for Otoe County and the Sheriff's Department is a big priority for Jeffrey Lant, one of three Republican candidates on the May 15 primary ballot for the Otoe County Sheriff. The candidate out of the primary that receives the top number of votes will advance to the general election in November to face Colin Caudill, Democrat from Nebraska City.
Lant feels that the Sheriff’s Department needs is for its next Sheriff to project the direction of this change and then to begin setting policy and structure to support it. If elected, Lant says he will use his leadership and management skills, as well as his experience to develop the people in the department to their potential, and to create a policy that gives them both guidance and freedom as they work to protect our communities.
Regardless of who the next Sheriff is, Lant feels they are going to face the challenge of leading the office in a changing world. A few challenges Lant said that he sees in the county are that the prisons and jails are full; convicted criminals are left with lighter sentences due to lack of space; mental illness seems to be an emerging issue; and available resources are being pushed beyond their limits. Additionally, one of the complaints Lant hears frequently involves the amount of time and money the county is required to spend transporting our prisoners to and from other jails because ours is either full or doesn’t have the resources to handle certain issues safely. If resources were available, Lant said it would be wise to look at what other counties have done to address the same issues.
In discussing county-wide issues, Lant said, "It’s not too difficult to generate a conversation about our drug problem, because it is real." He said we have seen that drug use leads to job loss, then theft and sometimes violent crime. He also thinks it can lead to mental illness, which he says has created a host of other issues for law enforcement. "I believe these are also a symptom of another issue, namely a lack of effective consequence in the criminal justice system," said Lant. He feels that much of this is out of the control of local law enforcement, but that there are things that can be done to help achieve the best outcome. As Sheriff, Lant says he will encourage accountability within the office as well as encourage cooperation between it, our communities, and our prosecutors.
To accomplish this, Lant says that supervisors would be assigned over each shift that will be responsible for all sheriff’s department operations. "Deputies would be encouraged to be involved in their communities and help facilitate active community participation in detecting and reporting criminal activity," said Lant. He also would plan to assign a supervisor the responsibility of reviewing all reports taken by our department, and then working with our prosecutors as needed toward successful prosecutions. Lant believes his role as Sheriff would be to first create policy that implements this working strategy, and then participate within it as an active member of said policy.
In addition to these things, he feels that fewer quality or capable people are interested in working in law enforcement today than when he started. Lant was asked how, if elected as sheriff, he would foster an environment that ensures fair treatment of all people that are served by the Otoe County Sheriff's Department. He said, "As Sheriff, I will only retain or hire those whose character is such that would seek to treat all people fairly." He plans to create this environment by policy and enforce it in practice.
Although Lant sees a few challenges ahead, he also believes that the Sheriff’s Department has made significant improvements recently and is now working on the right track and in the right direction. "We still have a way to go, but as Sheriff I will work to keep it moving in the direction it appears to be going," said Lant.
When being asked how Lant plans to spend his time if he were to be elected for Sheriff, he said that he will work as many hours as are needed to ensure the job is being done properly.
He understands that that both meetings and emergencies occur outside the normal business day. With that, he feels if he is working efficiently, as he says he generally does, there shouldnt be any reason the majority of his duties couldn’t normally be done within the scope of a 40-hour week. If elected, when starting, Lant says he will be spending most of his time becoming more familiar with all of the operations of the office, and implementing policy that guides its activities. As working policy develops, he plans to divide his time more evenly between patrol, administrative, and civil process tasks.
Lant, when asked what resources he would use to address the mentally ill population that are in custody and charged with criminal offenses, he replied that law enforcement has an obligation to protect society from individuals who exhibit dangerous behavior, and that often those who exhibit these behaviors suffer from some form of mental illness. "I believe law enforcements first duty in these situations is to confront the immediate issue and make that situation safe. After this is done, there is time to make an appropriate determination as to what the next step is," added Lant.
He said these decisions are made based on a variety of factors that include: the individuals threat to society, the acts they have committed, and when needed, the options available for confinement at the time. Lant feels not all of these options are always available, but they can range from placement with a family member, shelter care, inpatient hospital care, a crisis center, or jail. Lant says these decisions are often made as a collaborative discussion between law enforcement, corrections, legal, and medical professionals.
Here’s a bit more about the candidate.
Lant has lived in Otoe County most of his life. He is a graduate of Nebraska City High School. He is married to Angie Lant, who is employed as a garden center manager at ACE Hardware in Nebraska City, as well as runs her own interior painting business. The couple has 4 daughters, all of whom have attended Nebraska City Public Schools. Two of the four have already graduated, the third graduates this May, and the oldest is married. Their ages are 14, 18, 21, and 23.
Lant is currently the Nebraska City Police Sergeant as well as a business owner. He is also the police department's Training Coordinator, is a Field Training Officer, and is in charge of the departments alcohol testing equipment. Additionally, he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Management as well as an Associates degree in Business in Criminal Justice.
Lant is a 21-year veteran of the Nebraska City Police Department, as well as an Air Force veteran. He is a prior member of the leadership team as a Deacon at Calvary Community Church, a former member of the People United For Families Board, a prior team member on the joint Nebraska City / Otoe County Tactical Team, a former defensive tactics instructor, and a former Teammates Mentor. Lant won the Republican Nomination for Otoe County Sheriff in 2014, but then lost by 302 votes in the general election.
His desire to become the Otoe County Sheriff started after moving out of Nebraska City. He says he considered the fact that his family, as rural Otoe County residents, weren’t being afforded the same 24-hour law enforcement coverage as those living in Nebraska City. Lant said this was clearly something that could be feasibly done without extra cost.
In summary, Lant believes it is a combination of his experience and education in all these things that makes me the best candidate for Otoe County Sheriff. And as Sheriff, he said he ould use his experience and best judgement to surround himself with people who possess skills both like his, as well as different, so that as a team, the department can be, “The model of professionalism” in service to our communities.
For more information, contact Jeffrey Lant via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or message him on the Lant for Otoe County Sheriff Facebook Page.