Letter: Murken is professional, dedicated with integrity
To the editor:
I am Jerry Spencer, who spent 30 years working for the Ames Police Department, 27 1/2 years as an officer, with the last 2 1/2 years working half as a civilian mental health advocate. It was during this time I met Linda Murken, who was the executive director of the Second Judicial District Department of Correctional Services, providing community-based services for 22 years. Linda was also the chairperson for the Story County Mental Health/Criminal Justice Task Force (MHCJTF) of which I was a member. The task force was made up of mental health providers, correction, law enforcement, lawyers, CCJ, politicians, consumers, NAMI, members of the Board of Supervisors, as well as anyone else who wanted to be involved in improving the lives of individuals with mental illness.
My impression of Linda is that she is a person of integrity, professional, dedicated, who believes that each and every one of us has a voice that deserves to be heard. As executive director of the Second District, she was responsible for 22 counties, which gave her the experience of working with countless employees, individuals who were incarcerated or on probation, victims of crimes, upholding the law as well as the financial aspect of maintaining the budget.
Her work with the MHCJTF have given her a better understanding of the needs of those with mental illness (consumers), their family members, mental health providers, criminal justice system; as well as how the slashing of Federal and State funding has had a devastating impact, not only on the entire mental health community, but the criminal justice system, which in turn affects each and every one of us. That is why I am supporting Linda Murken for the position of Board of Supervisors.