Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fishburn Running For Sheriff

WRTV is reporting that Sgt. Dennis Fishburn is running for Marion County sheriff as a Republican. The original candidate backed by the country organization, Tim Motsinger, was forced to drop out of the race after it was revealed that he had received a six-figure loan from Tim Durham, who is under investigation by the feds for running a Ponzi scheme. Another career law enforcement officer, Bart McAtee, is also seeking the Republican nomination. His father served as sheriff for eight years. WRTV explains Fishburn's entry into the race:

Fishburn said he decided to run after former Republican candidate Tim Motsinger dropped out of the race because of his ties with embattled businessman Tim Durham.

"At that point, I just felt like my calling was there and I should come forward," Fishburn said. "I know it's late in the game, but … I like being the underdog, because it just makes you work extremely hard."

Fishburn spent a lot of time fighting for justice for his son, Officer Jason Fishburn, who was severely wounded by Brian Reese in a July 2008 shooting.
If I'm being honest about Fishburn, his desire to capitalize on the tragic shooting of his son, also an IMPD officer, while in the line of duty is a bit unsettling to me. He could hardly contain his enthusiasm for standing in front of the TV cameras. Also, the guy has a been a police officer for 26 years (with the sheriff's department) and has only rose to the rank of sergeant. That should tell you something about his leadership skills.

Some of the Republican Party leadership have a beef with McAtee because his family backed Sheriff Frank Anderson, a Democrat, after his father lost a primary race with Lawrence Mayor Tom Schneider. Then-Sheriff Jack Cottey backed Schneider in that race. Cottey ordered an employee of the sheriff's office to manipulate the crime statistics to make it appear that crime had gotten worse when Joe McAtee had served as sheriff. Schneider's campaign used those manipulated statistics to smear McAtee in the primary. Sheriff Cottey lost a whistleblower lawsuit in federal court brought by an employee who Cottey fired that wound up costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. That incident, along with Schneider's corrupt Lawrence water utility deal that enriched his political pals at the public's expense, led many Republicans to back Anderson in that race.

If the Republican leadership is going to try to force Fishburn down the throats of precinct committeepersons during next year's slating just to deliver a middle finger to the McAtees, then they had better find something in Fishburn's career that distinguishes him besides the fact that he likes standing in front of a TV camera talking about how his son got shot. Some of us tend to think a little more deeply about who our candidates should be than others. And while we're on the subject, if the Republican leadership in this county gave a damn about its credibility, it would have asked Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi to step down so that someone else can be appointed to his office to clean up the mess he's created for himself and his office rather than looking for an opponent to run against McAtee. Do they not comprehend what a drag on the Republican ticket Brizzi will be next year if he is still in office?

UPDATE: Has anyone else noticed the Marion County GOP's website is still dark? The lights went out on it about the same time as most of the staff walked out the door and rumors swirled around about an embezzlement of funds and bounced checks. Does anyone care that the county party is sinking under the leadership of Ice Miller lobbyist Tom John?

24 comments:

indyernie said...

Gary knowing both candidates I believe both are equally qualified.
I also know Mac has refused to agree not to run against the slate if he isn't slated. That isn't setting well within the party.

Advance Indiana said...

If Fishburn is slated over McAtee, then he should run against him in the primary. McAtee has much higher name recognition and a more distinguished law enforcement career under his belt. It's going to be a tough enough year for a Republican to win in Marion County given the shifting demographics. Let's face it, Ernie, if Fishburn's son hadn't been shot while in the line of duty, would we even be having this discussion? His name has never appeared on anyone's list of potential candidates until Motsinger dropped out of the race.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Indyernie,

It sits well with this Republican. If you think slating is about party workers having a say about candidates who are nominated, you're clueless. Slating is about party boss control of who gets nominated. I have watched slatings be rigged for 22 years. I know you've seen them rigged too. How many does it take before you stop believing the spin?

Paul K. Ogden said...

As far as I'm concerned, Fishburn's involvement with the Wishard lies and election misrepresentations, as well as the coming Wishard property tax increase makes him unacceptable as a nominee of the Republican Party.

Concerned Taxpayer said...

CORRECTION: Fishburn is NOT a 26 year veteran of IMPD. He is a THREE year veteran of IMPD and a 23 year veteran of the Marion County Sheriff Department.

varangianguard said...

Hmm. Offhand, I would think anyone with the name of McAtee might be considered to have had a sinecure "distinguished" more by nepotistic advancement, rather than by anything else.

Run an undistinguished three-striper or someone with a political pedigree. Doesn't really matter either way, except as to who gets to spread out the post-victory largesse (whether a Republican or Democrat wins).

Sheriff is just another politcal job whose time has come and gone long ago.

dcrutch said...

Amen to Varan & Ogden re Wishard. While we're in the throes of budgetary meltdown, why can't the Sheriff and posse finally be folded completely into IMPD? The only reason it didn't happen earlier was the turf to be lost?
How bad does the budget have to get before we finally get past that hooey?

Considering our rate of spending money we don't have and making babies we don't take care of - I guess I can answer my own question.

When things make too much sense in life, that's when we don't do them.

Advance Indiana said...

It really doesn't make sense to have a sheriff any longer just to run the jail.

Concerned Taxpayer said...

Sheriff is a constitutional office.

Advance Indiana said...

So is the coroner and that's a joke as well. A couple of constitutional amendments are in order.

Downtown Indy said...

Wait and see - the list of backers, contributors and endorsers of his campaign will align almost perfectly with the list of backers, contributors and endorsers of Matt Guwein's campaign.

Just their way of saying 'thank you' for the press conferences and appearances on behalf of the Wishard referendum.

Concerned Taxpayer said...

I think even places like Cook County, Illinois; New York; Cincinnati; Nashville; etc. where the major city is the entire county, still have a sheriff that maintains the jail and/or serves the civil papers.

Jon E. Easter said...

The Sheriff does a lot more than "just run the jail."

Downtown Indy said...

This site?

It's alive and well. Maybe they've blocked you specifically? ;-)

Advance Indiana said...

That's not a website. It's merely a stand-in blog site while they work on getting a website back online. The regular website has been down for months.

Downtown Indy said...

I thought it was rather cheesy, but these days my expectations are so low I assumed it was the 'real' site without even a second thought.

artfuggins said...

As a Democrat, I can just sit on the sidelines and watch this one unfold.

indyernie said...

Paul if Fishburn gets the nod at slating and Mac runs against the slate, democrats win. We will have eight more years of overspending. If Melinda Kennedy were smart she would run for Sheriff. Considering the possibilities she just might win an election.

varangianguard said...

art, is that "unfold" or "unravel"?

Concerned Taxpayer said...

"The Sheriff does a lot more than "just run the jail.""
Why, yes he does. In fact, maybe you can explain to me why the sheriff now has a fleet of 1,000 vehicles, even though he has NO law enforcement division, road patrol, or street responsibilities.

Kyle said...

For those who don't know, the Sheriff's Department does more than "run the jail." We (I am employed by MCSD) are in charge of picking up people IMPD arrests because they're too lazy to drive them downtown themselves, we provide security for the courtrooms, city county building, prisoners, etc. We are the ones who travel across the state, as well as into other states, to pick up those wanted by IMPD/MCSD for warrants. We are the ones who knock down doors of those wanted on warrants. We are the ones who go around and ensure registered sex offenders are in compliance with the rules set forth to them and if they're not, we arrest them. We still have all the responsibilities we had before the "merger" except for the fact there's no more MCSD cars responding to 911 calls.

I understand a lot of people think it's pointless for Marion County to have a Sheriff's Department still, but the State of Indiana apparently believes it's important for there to still be one because it is the state that said there had to be one.

Concerned Taxpayer, for you information we do not have 1,000 vehicles. Not even close. There's over 1,000 employees, but no where near that many vehicles. We have roughly 350 vehicles, for administrators, sex offender registry unit, warrants, jail transportation, wagons to go pick up those arrested, and vehicles for the civil process division to go and serve civil papers. But watch out, they are legally allowed to pull you over and write you a ticket!

Sorry for the rant, but I wanted to make sure the TRUTH was known about certain things.

revthemup said...

Where is Steve Davis when we need him?

Jennifer said...

For anyone who would like to know, Dennis Fishburn does NOT enjoy being in front of a camera. However, he is GOOD at it, so when Jason was shot, they asked Dennis to be the one to speak to the newspeople. Trust me, he didn't willingly volunteer to be spokesperson, because he would have rather spent more time with his son.

Another issue I have with this article and the comments posted underneath... what ever happened to the American Dream? The rags to riches mindset? The belief that you can do anything with hard work and a dream? Yeah, Fishburn hasn't risen to "great" leadership or political standing... but he's a GOOD man. In fact, he is one of the best men I have ever known. Do you want to know WHY he hasn't bothered to try to raise in rank? Because he wanted to spend time with his FAMILY, and because he had duties to perform with his CHURCH, but not because he isn't hardworking. Heaven forbid that we have a squeaky-clean person in politics. I know that appalls some of you, but THIS voter LIKES having faith that THEIR vote is going to someone who will do what is right and won't get involved in stupid, back-sided schemes.

Fishburn may be coming in late, and you may not think he's qualified, but he IS. He's been on the force for decades--he worked in the jail for over 15 years with the hardest of criminals. He knows what he's doing, and when he doesn't know, he isn't afraid to do a little research, ask for help, and most importantly, he isn't afraid to ask God, our Father in Heaven for help.

Jennifer said...

Oh, and one more thing I forgot... Fishburn would never dream of capitalizing on his son's shooting. It almost killed him to come that close to losing another child.

In fact, before officially running for Sheriff, Fishburn sat down with his son and daughter-in-law and asked them if he had their support in running for Sheriff. He asked them this because he knew that Jason's name would undoubtedly be brought up. But Jason and Tonya gave their full consent and support to Fishburn, and it was only then that Fishburn officially stepped into the race.

I just thought I would set the record straight. I mean, we have to make sure that all the information is out there, right? I'd be happy to correct any more misconceptions in the future. :)