Dr. Brad Anders has announced he will be challenging Pettis County Sheriff Kevin Bond for the sheriff’s position in the November General Election.
Anders announced Monday he would be challenging Bond for the seat. He officially filed as an Independent candidate with the Pettis County Clerk’s Office on Friday. Anders previously ran unsuccessfully against Bond in 2008.
Anders was born and raised in Jefferson City before moving to Sedalia in 1991 to attend State Fair Community College. Anders attended the University of Central Missouri and received a bachelor’s in criminal justice. He also owned and operated two restaurants in Sedalia and Warrensburg for roughly 10 years.
Anders began working for the Sedalia Police Department in 2003 and worked there for seven years as a patrol officer and with the K-9 unit. He later began working at the Lee’s Summit Police Department but continued living in Sedalia with his wife and three children.
“I wanted to go out and maybe expand on my law enforcement knowledge…” Anders told the Democrat. “All I knew was Sedalia/Pettis County type policing and I knew that Lee’s Summit was a really forward-thinking police department and a much larger agency.”
While at LSPD, Anders completed his master’s and doctoral degrees in criminal justice. He began as a patrolman but worked his way up to his current position as a special operations sergeant. He has been with the department for 12 years.
In 2012, Anders started the Crime Reduction Team, which works the entire Kansas City metro area if there is a link to specific crime trends that are occurring in Lee’s Summit with “more of a community policing oriented type of approach.”
In 2016, Anders began working in the special investigations unit as a detective and started tracking the area’s opioid contacts, which were increasing incrementally every year. Anders said he then started looking into ways cops could get involved in the opioid crisis using a “more grassroots approach.”
His research led him to a program in Massachusetts called The Angel Program, which is a police-assisted addiction recovery program. Anders said he spent three years meeting with mental health care providers in the Lee’s Summit area and getting a similar program called Safe Passage up and running in Lee’s Summit, which is the first in the state.
“The idea is if they come in and they hand over their drugs, even if they don’t hand over their drugs or paraphernalia, but if they do there’s never any threat of arrest,” Anders explained. “Even if they’re not successful in the program we take that stuff and we destroy it. We screen them in and we worked on the front end with Rediscover to get them into KCATC (Kansas City Assessment and Triage).
“We take them straight from our lobby at the police department and drive them to KCTAC and drop them off with our paperwork and they take them and get them into treatment programs,” he continued.
Anders said he would like to start something similar in Pettis County and believes addressing addiction impacts crime as well since “the crime-drug coalition is significant.” Anders said it does not mean law enforcement is not hard on narcotics. If someone is caught breaking a statutory law they will still be booked but once they leave they will have a path available for help. Individuals are also allowed to utilize the program multiple times.
“We understand that addiction isn’t something that you’re going to beat the first time,” Anders said. “So if it’s four, five, six, seven, 10 times down the road we’re still going to be there willing to help you with that.”
Anders also works for the National Development and Research Institutes Inc. out of New York where he works on two federal grants. One is with the Department of Defense and is focused on PTSD in the military and the other is on opioid awareness and needlestick prevention for law enforcement funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He also is an adjunct instructor at Southern New Hampshire University for the university’s criminal justice master's program online.
Anders said since his loss to Bond in the 2008 election, he considered running again each time the election cycle came back around but it never seemed like the right time. Anders said the final thing to push him to run again was the deputy-involved shooting and killing of Hannah Fizer in June. He said other individuals began calling him asking him to consider running again.
“The circumstances surrounding that death were something that you can’t just ignore,” Anders said. “When I read that these deputies were rolling around without any kind of camera on them, that fails in the accountability section of what we’re trying to do in law enforcement with transparency and it hurts the community.”
Anders said if elected he would like to look into the department’s policies and identify areas of improvement as well as potential training. Anders said he would like to utilize the free training the Sedalia Police Department offers. With his education, Anders can also provide training on things including de-escalation, drug recognition, community policing, and racial profiling.
Anders said he would like to be back home working in Pettis County and believes he can make a difference.
“When it comes to serving that’s what I live to do,” he said. “That sounds cliche but that’s what makes this more appealing to me is an opportunity to take what I’ve learned and come here and make a change. Bring this law enforcement to a new area of policing.”