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Gonzalez to run for second term as sheriff

Archuleta County Sheriff Pete Gonzalez has announced his intent to run for a second term.

“With these financial hard times, I want to see it through one more term to make sure whatever I turn over to my successor is a fine-running machine,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez took office shortly before the county’s 2007 financial meltdown and said his first campaign’s pledge of wanting to do more, do it better, and do it with less, quickly became a necessity.

“We’ve accomplished a lot,” he said. ”We took over a department that was, for lack of a better word, in shambles, and we turned it into a very respected organization.”

During his first term, Gonzalez said he and his staff, “took care of the drug problem for the most part,” improved morale, eliminated excessive turnover and bolstered volunteer numbers for rescue missions (from about six individuals to as many as 50 trained volunteers now, he added), as well as maintaining strong working relationships with other entities that provide help.

Gonzalez’s first term also saw the creation of Archuleta County Combined Dispatch, a task he said he and retired Pagosa Springs Chief of Police Don Volger were instrumental in completing.

Combined Dispatch also saves the county about $200,000 yearly and gives a voice to the entities that use the dispatch system, Gonzalez noted.

Gonzalez said he also helped create a substation in Arboles that is manned by deputies on Thursday afternoons to increase the department presence in the community.

Although pleased with his first term accomplishments, Gonzalez concedes that he fell short in living up to all his campaign promises.

“Because of the lack of funds on the county’s part, or the downfall, we have not been able to field that traffic officer to take care of the traffic situation. We still handle what we can, but that’s very limited,” he said. “And that’s been a disappointment to me. It’s the one campaign pledge that I have not been able to resolve.

“I enjoy the job, enjoy serving the community and look to continue to do good things during the second term,” Gonzalez said.

In his 39th year of law enforcement, Gonzalez previously retired from the LA County Sheriff’s Department after 21 years, served as the chief of police in Ignacio for six years and was the investigator for Archuleta County for the District Attorney’s office for eight years.

randi@pagosasun.com