Viktor Marunyak, Head of Stara Zburyivka village council, is happy to tell more about this situation: “Thanks to the work of our sheriff, we don’t even remember when was the last felony in our community committed”
"We call him “sheriff”, but it’s more a fashionable nickname that we use in our village. Officially, his position is inspector of law enforcement and he is supported through the funds of our village council. These funds are not large but sufficient to raise a family in the region. Such a person is more or less replacing our district police officer”.
Viktor Marunyak explained that for rural Ukrainian communities, police forces are almost always represented by district officers. People see other law enforcement agents only on TV screen. But the problem is that Stara Zburyivka police district officer is changing every year. Moreover, he is working for 8-10 villages and towns at the same time and is not able to attend to the needs of each community. This situation is common for the whole region.
Viktor Marunyak told the story how his fellow villagers started to think about a solution to the lack of law enforcement representatives. They wanted to find an original and efficient method to ensure safety and security in the community. The method they found may not be completely legal, but it answers to the needs of the village. Stara Zburyivka citizens elected a sheriff, Viktor Kryvoborodko, ex-police captain, who works in this position for almost 10 years. Village head said that he is sure that the job of the inspector of law enforcement should be mainly of a preventive character.
“How do our police work? One guy has killed the other guy; if the police solve the murder quickly enough, everyone is happy. But the main task of the police is to prevent one guy from killing the other one.
That is called prevention, and that can only be done by the district police inspector who has been working in the community for years and who knows everything. Viktor Kryvoborodko, the inspector of the village council, does this in our community. Thanks God, we have forgotten about felonies for many years due to the preventive work. That is in the community of 2700 people”, - says Marunyak.
While answering correspondent’s questions whether there are sheriffs in neighboring villages, he answered that there was an attempt to create such an institution, and it was from the above. The previous year, regional labor centers offered the program “Village sheriff” and financed the work of village young men. The candidatures have been proposed by village communities, but that lasted only for 8 months. Then a junior sheriff appeared in Stara Zburiivka – Volodymyr Rudkovskiy. This year, a new instruction was issued that the community can have one more sheriff, but only if the village council finances 50% of his allowance. “As far as I know, all village councils have budget problems, that is why probably no one could afford it this year”, - suggested Marunyak.
As a conclusion, he expressed confidence, that official status for sheriffs, election for such positions together with the elections to the village councils and increasing of powers “will eliminate police problem for the half of Ukraine”. “We need to introduce small changes to just 3 laws: “On the police”, “On the local elections” and “On the local governance”. Additional finances are not needed, because money for sheriffs’ allowances are in the village councils”, - concluded Marunyak.