Schirard’s experience surpasses Smith’s

In her letter to the editor (Herald, June 8), Candace Richerson boasted that Deputy Sean Smith has “worked for more than 20 years in areas from patrol to the administration of large city and federal law-enforcement offices,” suggesting that this experience makes him the candidate of choice for sheriff of La Plata County.

Now let’s look at Sheriff Duke Schirard’s record: The sheriff started his law enforcement career in La Plata County some 37 years ago. In addition to serving the Town of Bayfield as marshal for eight years, he served our county’s sheriff’s department as patrol deputy, county jail deputy, undersheriff and acting sheriff. The people of La Plata county elected him sheriff in 1994.

During the last 20 years, Sheriff Schirard has faithfully performed the duties of county sheriff, administering the largest law-enforcement agency in Southwest Colorado. In that role, he has managed the divisions of Detention, Public Safety, Special Services, Alternatives to Incarceration, Investigations and the Special Investigations Unit. To suggest that Deputy Smith’s eclectic background surpasses a service record like Schirard’s is ludicrous. After 20 years as sheriff of La Plata County, Schirard certainly knows the complexities of staffing and budgeting for the department and how best to fulfill all the responsibilities under his administration.

In these economic times, and with the increased needs for law-enforcement services in the county, it’s not surprising that the current budget falls short, and it makes all the sense in the world for our county commissioners to approve utilizing outside consultation, just as you or I might utilize the services of a financial planner.

When one looks at the record of experience of these two candidates, their respective knowledge of La Plata County’s law enforcement needs and understanding of the costs and staffing requirements associated with executing the mandated functions of the department, it is clear that Sheriff Duke Schirard is the man the people of La Plata County need to fulfill the duties of county sheriff.

Billy J Valencia


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