Dear Editor:

When I look at both candidates running for sheriff, I ask myself who has the “experience” and “leadership” to be the next sheriff. One candidate, Rich Valdez, has built a career in our local law enforcement department. The steady progression of his career shows that in the past 14 years, he has gained valuable experience as a law enforcement officer and leader within the sheriff’s department. Rich has utilized his experience to gain the respect of his peers in law enforcement. Rich’s career also reflects that he is an esteemed leader in his field. Rich continuously strives to provide quality leadership and guidance. He returned to school where he completed numerous leadership courses in pursuit of his degree. The information Rich learned has meshed perfectly with his own leadership style that he began implementing as he rose professionally from corporal, sergeant, detective sergeant and is now serving as our undersheriff.

The best sheriff is a person who has direct experience in leadership, management and overseeing a department that has many more functions than patrol. The sheriff must stand firm on his direction to oversee the county jail, patrol, and emergency management. Additionally, the sheriff must work collaboratively with dispatch, county finance, road and bridge, board of county commissioners, special interest groups in the community, victims and offenders of crime. Rich Valdez has actively been performing all of these duties while serving as undersheriff.

Rich is the only candidate that truly has the knowledge, skill, practice, understanding, familiarity, know-how and “experience” of being a continuous source of leadership within the sheriff’s department. Rich has been dedicated to this department and community and has provided us with the most current, best practices for the department as a whole.

Rich also supports the ongoing investigations of cold cases in our community. Recently, Detective Barter was able to identify the victim of a homicide from 20-plus years ago and return that victim back to his family in Georgia. This shows that Rich Valdez has a commitment to all crimes committed within our county and a desire to bring closure to each victim. Please join me and vote for Rich Valdez on June 24.

Warren Grams

This story was posted on May 22, 2014.