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Williams News | Williams, Arizona

home : latest news : local May 30, 2016

7/22/2014 11:15:00 AM
Justice of the Peace candidate interview: Jeff Brownlee
Jeff Brownlee is running for Justice of the Peace in the Aug. 26 primary election.
Jeff Brownlee is running for Justice of the Peace in the Aug. 26 primary election.
Williams-Grand Canyon News

How long have you lived in Williams?

For a total of 17 plus years. I moved here in 1988 and was employed with the Department of Public Safety (DPS). So I stayed about three years and then I transferred to Flagstaff to take on a canine position. After a stint in Flagstaff with the department doing different things such as canines, working the roads and street level narcotics, I moved back to Williams in 1998. I was promoted to supervisor with DPS in 2001, which caused me to leave Williams again, and I then went to the Bullhead City/Kingman area and supervised a gang squad there. And then after roughly 16-18 months I was able to move back to Williams in roughly 2004 and I've been here ever since.

Why did you decide to run for this office?

Being part of the criminal justice system is something that I've always wanted to kind of see on the other side. Being a law enforcement officer I was able to testify in municipal, state and federal courts and it's something that I've always wanted to do at some point in my career when I retired.

What experience qualifies you for the Justice of the Peace position?

I went to college and was able to get a degree in social work and a minor in psychology, which I think are two important aspects of being a judge, due to the fact that you understand human behavior and then you try to understand a situation where somebody's behavior caused or resulted in something bad happening or positive happening.

With that I was able to do an internship with the Child Protective Services agency in Colorado, which allowed me to even have a caseload. After my internship I was employed by El Pueblo Boys Ranch, which was a ranch for troubled juveniles. Also after that employment I worked at Desert Hills Psychiatric Facility, which was also a place for troubled juveniles.

Along with that I decided to seek a career in law enforcement, so I spent 26 years with DPS. Once I retired from DPS I took on a role as a part time teacher at Williams High School. I was able to teach a class at the middle school and that was called World of Exploration. Also I taught a Law Enforcement class at the high school. With that I also taught a drug/substance abuse class at the high school and middle school called Drug Free World.

That all just molded me where I feel I have great qualifications where when I'm dealing with defendants and victims that hopefully we can come out together with a positive solution.

What changes, if any, do you think should be made in our local court system?

I believe the staff at our Justice Court right now, they understand their job descriptions and duties. I have the utmost respect in their abilities and their knowledge to handle the court system the way it needs to be handled. I am a team player. So if I let my staff do their thing because they're very capable of doing their thing, with teamwork with me being there we can reach one common goal at a non-stressful work environment where we produce the highest quality of relationship with the defendants or victims that come into the court.

I would like to see my staff be involved in the community, either coaching or belonging to some kind of organization. I think our staff should be out there too representing the court system as a positive role model.

What is your strongest personal quality as it relates to the Justice of the Peace position?

My personal strongest ability is me being myself. If people know me they know that I'm an honest person with lots of integrity. I do take the time to listen to people and I treat everybody with the utmost respect. I never judge anybody. I want people when they come into the court to realize that when they step in through the doors that they know they're going to be heard and they know they're going to be treated fairly. I am just a common man for the common people and I believe in a quote made by Theodore Roosevelt that says, "No man shall be above the law, and no man shall be below the law." I really want people to feel treated equally.

Briefly summarize your platform.

My platform is handle the judicial system inside the courtroom, but the big part for me is to get outside the courtroom and work with families who are in crisis. I have seen families in crisis from day one out of college, during college doing my internship. I truly believe if we can get families that are in crisis the proper counseling and treatment that it's going to benefit not only us but the whole community, because all of us are in this together and we all can't handle this by ourselves.

What's the role of the Justice of the Peace in a small community?

I think it's a leadership role. I think when you're out talking to people and visiting with people, people expect you to be a positive role model. I just need to be out working in the community, and if I work hand in hand with the next person, then that just makes us a tighter knit group.

What's the benefit of being both the Justice of the Peace and Williams Magistrate?

I think it all mingles together. We are one court system in the Williams community with surrounding areas such as Grand Canyon, Parks, and areas north of Ash Fork. They both mesh together, the laws are the same, there might be some different ordinance by the city or the county, but really everything's the same. And the number one goal out of any court system is to find a way to resolve issues that people have been affected by, either in a criminal aspect or a civil aspect. So we want to make sure we take a role to resolve everything in a positive way in both sides of the court.

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