Gunderson: Aim for efficiency, resultsBesides being on the job with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, Tom Gunderson has gone back to school in the interest of furthering himself in his profession.
By: Bill Kirk, Pierce County Herald, The Republican Eagle
Residence River Falls
Occupation: Patrol sergeant Pierce County Sheriff’s Department
Family: Wife, Liz; two daughters
Education: University of Wisconsin-River Falls, bachelor’s in criminal justice at UW-Platteville; working on masters
Besides being on the job with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, Tom Gunderson has gone back to school in the interest of furthering himself in his profession.
“With my training, and based on my experience with the department, I feel I can offer the citizens of this county a department that’s both efficient and effective,” said the patrol sergeant, who is working on a master’s degree in criminal justice administration.
Hired part time in 1984, he advanced to full time a year later. He’s been the K-9 officer, a member of the tactical team, a firearms instructor and dispatcher/jailer since.
One area in which he wants to emphasize efficiency and effectiveness is the dispatch center and jail. Staffing needs to be re-evaluated, he believes.
“911 is the lifeline to every citizen, while every officer, EMS responder and firefighter relies on it, too,” he said.
Currently, three dispatcher/jailers are typically on duty. If a jail incident occurs, two respond for safety reasons, which can leave one at dispatch. An incoming 911 call closely followed by a second call overload the center, he said. The regular phone line is also answered there, he reminded.
“We need to reduce the stress on those officers,” he said, contending they’re still working at 1990s staffing levels though the population continues to increase, as does the demand for the department’s services.
As for the county jail, Gunderson said there are alternatives to building a new one right now. In some instances, home monitoring works for those who haven’t posed a threat nor been sentenced for violent crimes.
People out on probation pose another issue, the candidate said.
Because the department doesn’t have control over when probation agents feel the need to put an individual in jail, the jail population can be increased quite a bit in that regard alone.
The candidate said he’s a proponent of goal-setting, wishing to develop a focus and establishing goals so “everyone in the department and in the community know where the department is going.”