|Doug "Red" Rader is running for Stone County Sheriff|
"Law enforcement is not my job, it's who I am," says Doug "Red" Rader who is running for Stone County sheriff.
It was the drug death of his first cousin and watching one of his best friends destroying his life with illegal drugs that made Rader want to pursue a career in law enforcement. "I was tired of seeing drugs destroy lives," said Rader.
Rader, 43, who grew up in Webster County, began his law enforcement career 22 years ago as a patrol officer in Versailles. He left that department in 1993 and began working undercover narcotics in Hannibal for the North East Missouri Narcotics Task Force.
"I learned so much about people from working undercover. It was a life lesson to never judge a person by their looks." While working undercover he busted a city councilman near Macon in a controlled drug buy.
Rader quickly moved his way up through the ranks of the NEMO drug task force. In 1997 he was promoted to Sgt. and field supervisor of the unit and in 2001 he was named the Director of Operations of the task force.
While he was working with NEMO, Rader was federally deputized and was instrumental in taking down the largest marijuana grow operation in northeast Missouri in a case that spilled over into Illinois. "It took me seven years to break it up. That case proved to me that I have the tenacity to see a case resolved no matter how long it takes."
He was the first officer certified to work and dismantle meth labs in northeast Missouri. "I'm going to be harder on drugs and crime than my opponent (Richard Hill.) who worked drugs in the 70's and 80's. A lot has changed since then. I'm still actively involved in taking down drug dealers and meth cooks."
It was while he was director of operations of NEMO that Rader met his wife, Casey. "She told me she wouldn't marry me as long as I was working narcotics. I had more guns pulled on me the last year I was there than the previous ten. She's the best thing that has ever happened to me so it made my decision to seek a different kind of career in law enforcement an easy one for me."
In 2004, Rader applied for a job as the police chief in Branson West and was hired in October. Until last year the city ordinance there read that any full time employee seeking a public office would have to take a leave of absence. However, city council changed the ordinance so Rader could run for Stone County sheriff and still keep his job if not elected.
"That meant a lot to me. I work well with the council and have never gone over budget in any office I have had in the last twelve years."
It was the outpouring of support from the community that made Rader toss his hat into the sheriff's race. "I feel like Richard Hill has taken the department as far as he can and it's time for new leadership."
Rader is active in the community and sits on the boards of several organizations including the COMET drug task force (Combined Ozarks Multi Jurisdictional Enforcement Team,) Blessing's Christian Ministry and is an active member of the Table Rock Rotary Club and the Table Rock Chamber of Commerce. He is also the Western Director of the Missouri Narcotics Officers Association.
He says it would be a priority for him, if elected, to have deputies live in the county. "Less than 50% of current deputies live in Stone County. How can you expect your employees to be involved in the community if they don't live here."
Rader stressed he has been a public servant his whole career, "It's time for the sheriff to go back to working for the people of this county. The citizen's of this county deserve a full time working sheriff."
Next week we will begin a series on those running for Stone County Northern Commissioner.