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Candidates Answer Your Questions


County Sheriff Candidate - .Tommy Bolack.-PHOTO-TALON STAFF

This forum was hosted by the Farmington Young Professionals at the Civic Center in Farmington, NM Wednesday May 23, 2018 at 5:30pm with twelve Republican and Democratic candidates participating. The moderator was Scott Michlin, General Manager of San Juan College Public Radio, KSJE 90.9FM. All candidates were courteous and respectful of other candidates and audience, adhering to allotted time limit while answering the following questions. Answers are provided here un-edited.

County Sheriff Candidates: Tommy Bolack, Shane Ferrari

Q: Why are you qualified for the position of Sheriff?

Bolack: Long time Conservative Republican, Life Long San Juan County Resident, Graduated from NMSU with a Bachelor's Degree in Engineering, Over 30 years of business experience, Formed corporation, LLC and a Foundation that deals with oil and gas, ranching, farming, and museums, Life long work on preserving the future so what has been built here will stay here and give back to the community, Responsible for building the entire Aztec Electric Utility System, was the director there for over six years, Did everything from design and planning to accounting and scheduling of enery, Received an Award of Excellence for that utility work from the American Public Power Association in Washington, DC. Mr. Bolack says he wants to give back to the community as he has for decades through the college, cancer treatment centers, FFA, 4H, to name a few. He says he very much appreciates law enforcement and has done work in law enforcement although one does not have to be in career law enforcement to run for Sheriff. Attended the Reserve Academy, 170 hours of training, has done thousands of hours of volunteer work in patrol ride-alongs, court security, and prisoner transports. He relates to constituents that the position of Sheriff is an administrative position which needs experience in business. In addition Bolack says, "Crime is a real issue in San Juan County. We have burglaries, we have drugs, we have DWI's. They are deep concerns"

Ferrari: A Christian, 7th generation lifetime resident of San Juan County, Conservative Republican, 20 years serving with the San Juan County Sheriff's Office, Community Involvement, Board Member of the Fraternal Order of Police, Class of 2012 Leadership San Juan and still an alumni board member, Hospital Corporation Board Member, Attended SJC Sheriff's Office Deputy Reserve Academy, SJCJTA Basic Police Academy and FBI National Academy, Current Law Enforcement Certification in NM and holds all NM Dept of Public Safety Certifications, over 3,000 hours of advanced certified law enforcement training, has served in all SJC Sheriff's Office Divisions and held several leadership rolls including police instruction and field training, currently is the Under-Sheriff and CEO of the Sheriff's Office where duties consist of policy, budget, personel, and overall operations.

Q: Unlike other law enforcement positions, the Sheriff is elected by the people of this community. If elected, what will you do to protect the people of this community and their rights?

Ferrari: "Upholding citizens Constitutional Rights and enforcing the laws is a delicate balance...I believe we can do both of these things...It has to be a philosophy. The Sheriff's Office has had a long standing tradition of being a constitutional Sheriff's Office...I has to do with hiring the right people. And we have the highest standards in San Juan County...in hiring only those with high morals, character, integrity, and commitment...Extensive training...leadership; making sure that we scrutinize our daily activities, always looking at several different levels of how we can become more efficient and effective...making sure that balance is being maintained...I also believe in transparency. We have to be accountable to our public. We have to admit when we make a mistake. The community will forgive a mistake but it will not forgive a breech of trust"

Bolack: "I am thankful that the Sheriff himself is the only law enforcement official that can be elected from the public that the office actually serves, and that is a citizen. You do not necessarily have to have law enforcement training. There is definitely a citizen's mindset in allowing somebody like that to participate in being Sheriff. And I hope it stays that way because it is indeed a public office...The Constitution is there but citizens have the right to be safe. Crime is against that, burglaries, drugs, DWI's. There is a set team established by Sheriff Christiansen in his first term that was put aside for the moment...That team was very important. It wass able to improve a lot of things and I think it needs to come back. As far as the Constitution goes, the Second Amendment is very important. I actually hold a Class III Fire Arms Stamp and a Federal Explosives License, so I'm fully aware of how dangerous these things can be in the wrong hands... Last but not least is the Fourth Amendment. Law Enforcement treads a real fine line...You have to be very careful. It's invasive by nature...But, you have to be very careful to be able to protect those rights of privacy at the same time. You'll give probable cause. You'll articulate the reasons that you do it. Most freedoms are dear to all of us, including me."

Q: It's been stated in the press that finances are a significant burden on the Sheriff's Office. What other constraints is the Sheriff's Office facing, and how can they be overcome?

Bolack: "There are quite a few of those things that are going to stay as far as money goes. That is a big issue because law enforcement does not have a bottom line that says there's a profit, not directly anyway. Indirectly, there is, through increase in participation in business (and) tax base if you have good law enforcement...The wise use of money by looking at everything and making sure it's efficiently spent is very important. Also, grants are very important. You need to be able to ease this particular financial problem because it is one of our biggest restraints. The personnel quality is becoming difficult to actually find people that can qualify to be Sheriff's Deputies. That is a very specialized field. It takes very special individuals. Also, the schools are placing burdens on the Sheriff's Office which a lot of that actually belongs to the state for securing campuses being able to hire the individuals for security. The Sheriff's Office would be more than glad to train these people so they can coordinate very well with law enforcement. Cooperation also with the Navajo Nation...get on the same page, invite them to training and work with them because crime has no boundaries in San Juan County...One little final thing to ease the burden; I plan on donating my salary back to the Sheriff's Office"

Ferrari: "All of our restraints are connected to finance. There are very few federal grants left, very few state grants left...All these (grant) programs we had are no longer around...We do participate in all of those (grants) that we do qualify for...The Sheriff's Office has been in budgetary constraints now for over seven and a half years. We've had a stagnant budget. Roughly 85% of our budget goes to personnel and benefits...Seeing this coming (the Sheriff's Office) started the Sheriff's Office Foundation (a nonprofit)....That program saves the county tax payer tens of thousands of dollars...(The Foundation) helps us augment our forces...(with) deputies helping out during large scale events"

County Sheriff Candidate - Shane Ferrari-PHoto-TALON Staff

VOTING: Under the NM TWO PARTY system, Sheriff and Probate Judge positions can be voted on by all registered Republican voters in the county. The current Magistrate Judge for District 1 can only be voted on by registered Republican voters in the Northeast side of the county. County Commission Seat for District 1 can be voted on by registered Democrat voters on the west side of the county, including Kirtland and Shiprock.

Participation in the 2018 Primary Election: you must be registered as a Democrat, Republican, or Libertarian. Early voting has begun.

Last day for voting for this election will be June 5th, 2018.

INFO: For more information view the San Juan County Clerks website: sjcclerk.net


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