Rhodes vows to restore honesty, integrity to QA’s Sheriff’s Office
CENTREVILLE — Leading with integrity and honesty is what Kevin Rhodes, Democratic candidate for Queen Anne’s Sheriff, says is his top priority.
“I want to bring back pride in the office and integrity to the position,” he said.
School safety, reduction in bullying and creating events where police are able to interact with kids and parents are among his top priorities, Rhodes said.
He said school safety can be increased by creating a comprehensive plan using technology for physical security with frequent training and including fire/EMS.
“We need to be proactive in the schools, monitoring what is going on,” Rhodes said. “Even the teachers are reaching out, asking for training on behaviors.”
Children coming from broken homes need extra guidance, as well, Rhodes said, adding he would like to create a mentoring program and wants kids in the community to be able to have a good relationship with law enforcement. Creating events for police to be able to interact with children and their parents is another way he hopes to grow this relationship.
Rhodes and his wife adopted two children from outside the country, both at a young age, and he said he understands the need for good guidance.
Rhodes is a lifelong resident of Queen Anne’s County, born and raised in Church Hill. He graduated from Queen Anne’s County High School along with his four brothers, who all have served as law enforcement officers. Shortly after graduation, he joined the U.S. Army, where he served for nine years until his father became terminally ill with cancer.
Rhodes served in the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army, which has three active battalions and is identified by its nickname “The Old Guard,” as well as “Escort to the President,” he said.
He attended the Mar yland State Police Academy and retired in May 2017 after 35 years of honorable service.
Referencing a sexual harassment lawsuit brought against the sheriff’s office by a former employee in 2013, Rhodes said sexual harassment in the workplace led to the county spending money that could have been avoided. The office now is required to lead updated training, he said.
“I won’t tolerate or accept that in my he said.
Rhodes said his prior experience — 35 years with the Maryland State Police and nine with the Army — makes him a natural leader.
“I lead by example, and if you afraid to be a leader, your people Rhodes said.
As an enlisted man, Rhodes said he did not oversee budgets but was a man of action. It is important to him to work within the community and ser ve alongside the men and women in the field, leading by example, he said.
If elected, Rhodes said he would like to see motorcycle units added back into the office, and he would encourage community policing in neighborhoods.
A senior citizen welfare check program, maybe using a reser ve officer, twice a are will office,” not follow,” month is another change he said he would make. As deputies patrol, they can use a registr y of seniors and make welfare checks, he said.
He said he also would like to see deputies visiting each community within Queen Anne’s County once each shift.
Rhodes said there needs to be some acceptance of the traffic issue, accidents or the Bay Bridge getting gridlocked has a trickle down effect. Years ago, if traffic was congested, the State Highway Administration could stop traffic at U.S. Routes 50 and 301 to allow for clearing, but Rhodes sympathized with motorists, saying he would rather travel 25 miles out of his way than have to sit in traffic.
He said he is not a proponent of “deputies being paid overtime” to sit on Route 50 to keep people off the exits near the bridge. He said he would rather see deputies patrolling communities, monitoring local traffic and children’s safety.
In response to the opioid crisis, Rhodes said first there must be awareness that there is an issue, people have problems and need help.
If elected, he said, “We will deal with the opioid crisis right away, with the number (of overdoses) rapidly rising.” First would be to educate citizens on the effects and devastation of using
“Just because you have an addiction doesn’t make you a bad person,” Rhodes said. “We can educate and help, not lock up and punish.”
Currently working for the Salisbury University Police, Rhodes said he sees high volumes of drug use and people wanting help, but they are being told there is no room available at facilities.
Getting mental health help and making services available is important, Rhodes said, and if seeing intervention is repeated for certain individuals, taking steps necessary to make sure they get help and, lastly, by enforcing laws.
Rhodes said he believes his experience with MSP will make him a good liaison with county, MSP and the SHA.
His motto all along has been “more service and less politics,” Rhodes said. “I want to keep the citizens of the county involved, want them to reach out and not be afraid.”
Rhodes has been married for 18 years, and has four children and two grandchildren. His oldest children, Heather and Kevin, live in Queen Anne’s County with their families. His youngest son, Nikolia Rhodes, is a cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and his youngest daughter, Anastasia Rhodes, is a 2018 graduate of Queen Anne’s County High School and attending Salisbury University on a full Army ROTC Scholarship.
“As a lifelong resident of Queen Anne’s County, an honorable military veteran, and a 35-year veteran of the Mar yland State Police, I want to take on the continuing issues that directly affect our citizens in our great county,” Rhodes said. “If elected sheriff, I will actively participate in day-to-day activities of the sheriff’s office to ensure all issues are resolved effectively and efficiently. Additionally, as your sheriff I will not be a politician, I will be in the community, including the schools, listening to our citizens, addressing the problems, and being proactive. I will address the issues every day, not just during an election year.”