Miami — All four sheriff’s candidates came together in Miami last week to talk about their goals and plans for the Gila County Sheriff’s Office if they are elected.
About 100 people, most of them already backing a specific candidate, came to the Knights of Columbus Hall on Wednesday, Aug. 15 to cheer on their choices.
Candidates started with opening statements. Ray Van Buskirk (D) told the audience he is “blunt and to the point.” He said he is “sick of crime.”
“We can do more,” he said. He referred to his own young children as well as others. “We need to do it for them,” he said.
Adam Shepherd (R) talked about the 27 years he has already given to the Sheriff’s Office and pointed out that the last seven were as undersheriff.
He talked about accountability and transparency. He said no matter what happens, things need to be brought out in the open and mistakes need to be admitted.
He talked about training for department personnel so they can do “as well as can be done with what we have to work with.” He added that employees have “meaningful input with me there.”
Candidate Craig Jones (D) said he has been in law enforcement for 20 years full time and three in “active reserve.”
Jones said he supports continuous training and focusing on employee moral. “We need to tell ‘em they are doing a good job,” he said.
He said he wants to make sure the “citizens of Gila County are getting the service you deserve from the Sheriff’s Office…With my training and certification, I will be a good leader and lead the department in a good direction.”
Darrell Stubbs (R) said he retired from the Sheriff’s Office four years ago so he could run for sheriff.
He talked about the county’s problems. “If I don’t try to correct them, then I’m part of the problem,” he said.
He said he plans to communicate with other agencies and do community policing so officers can get to know the people. He said people know what’s happening on their street and are a “valuable resource.”
He pointed out that the tax rate will go down as crime goes down because businesses will be attracted to the community.