Elections

Asher proposes reserve officer corps to reduce the impact of budget cuts | San Juan County Sheriff

Jeff Asher, candidate for San Juan County sheriff, said as sheriff he would create a reserve officer corps to reduce the impact of budget cuts on the Sheriff’s Department.

Asher, a sheriff's deputy, is one of five candidates for sheriff in the Aug. 17 primary; the other candidates are Adult Probation Officer Brad Fincher, Lead Detective Brent Johnson, Deputy Felix Menjivar, and Deputy Rob Nou. The two top vote-getters in the Aug. 17 primary will advance to the Nov. 2 general election.

Asher ran for sheriff in 2002, receiving 2,363 votes to Sheriff Bill Cumming’s 3,480.

“In our county, there are a large number of highly trained former law enforcement officers who are willing and able to help us as part-time deputies," Asher said in a campaign announcement. "This pool of highly qualified, experienced officers who are also residents of our county will form the Reserve Officer Corps.

"For the price of a uniform and a small stipend, the Reserve Officer Corps will dramatically and positively impact law enforcement in our county."

Asher said community coverage by the Reserve Officer Corps during low demand times will allow full-time deputies to gather for briefings, staff meetings and training.

"This will contribute to team-building, greater cohesion and service improvement, but is impossible under our present system of staffing.

"Currently, our deputies are individually trained off-island at considerable expense. With coverage by the Reserve Officer Corps, we can, for about the same cost, bring a trainer here and provide new skills and knowledge to several deputies at once.

“I know from discussions with other law enforcement agencies that a Reserve Officer Corps can be a great benefit. I have developed some fairly detailed plans as to how such a corps could be developed and deployed. I look forward to providing these details as our campaigns move forward.”

The sheriff earns $97,514 a year and manages a staff of 36 full-time employees and a budget of $2.3 million, which includes: $719,219, dispatch; $472,888, Enhanced E-911; $398,920, jail; and $209,615, Emergency Management.

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