AUBURN — DeKalb County Sheriff’s Detective Brady Thomas announced today he will run as a Republican for sheriff in the 2022 election.
“I am running for sheriff because the citizens of DeKalb County deserve a well-run, fiscally conservative, community-oriented sheriff’s department focused on providing the best possible public safety,” Thomas said. “As a fiscally conservative sheriff, I will spend the public’s tax dollars as carefully as I do my own.”
Thomas said he opposes raising county income taxes at the present time to pay for a new jail.
“Three years ago the County Commissioners decided to build a Community Corrections facility and wait until the bond was paid before building the new jail. Community Corrections has been in operation for two years, one of those years hampered by the pandemic. The hope was the work release center would reduce the jail population, and there has not been sufficient opportunity to assess that impact,” Thomas said.
Thomas said the current sheriff supports building a jail now, and says if it is not built, the county may be sued. Thomas said he believes the county can continue to take steps to mitigate liability, while exploring the most feasible way — time and funding source/mechanism — to build a jail.
“I do not think it is fair to put this additional tax burden on the backs of the taxpayers again,” Thomas said. Taxes were raised to pay for Central Communications, raised to pay for Community Corrections, and now the proposal is to raise them again to pay for a new jail, he said.
“At a time when building costs are inflated, I think it is a mistake to rush into building a new jail,” Thomas said.
Thomas is a DeKalb High School graduate and Marine Corps veteran. In the Marines, Thomas served as an infantryman and a military police officer. He returned to Auburn and obtained his accounting degree. Thomas worked in real estate and accounting before starting his career at the Sheriff’s Department in 2009 as a confinement officer. Thomas currently serves as a detective and said he has been the lead investigator in many of the county’s most serious crimes, including murder, child molesting and rape cases.
Thomas is a graduate of the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. He has served as a school resource officer and is currently on the Sexual Assault Response Team, the Child Protection Team, and the DeKalb County Safe Schools Commission. Thomas is also a team member for the Veterans Treatment Court.
Thomas said he would introduce changes that would increase staff recruiting and retention.
“Current policies are contributing to few applicants and low staff morale. If we continue at this rate, the quality of service provided by the Sheriff’s Department will diminish,” he said.
Thomas also said he would evaluate courthouse security measures and procedures.
“I commend the current sheriff and his role in implementing courthouse security,” Thomas said. “But we have to keep in mind what the original purpose of courthouse security was, and I believe it was to prevent the public from bringing weapons into the courthouse. What is currently in place is unreasonable and unnecessary. I support eliminating the current policy prohibiting the public from bringing cellphones into the courthouse and support having county employees bypass security.”
Thomas said he volunteered or currently volunteers with many organizations in the community, including Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Auburn Area Kiwanis. Thomas is a member of the Fraternal Order of Police, Indiana Sheriffs Association, National Rifle Association and the American Legion. He said he is also a strong supporter of the 1st and 2nd Amendments.
Thomas said he believes his combination of law enforcement, military, education and business experience make him uniquely qualified for the position of sheriff.
Thomas lives in Auburn with his wife, Kristina, and 3-year-old daughter, Zoe. They are members of the County Line Church of God.
Thomas’ campaign has launched a website with more information about him and his platform at bradythomasforsheriff.com.