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INTERVIEW WITH SHERIFF CANDIDATES

Republicans Square-Off in Primary

 


Republicans Square-Off in Primary

By David Edward Albright

Recently, the TALON talked on the phone with Shane Ferrari and Tommy Bolack, the Republican candidates vying for the bid to become San Juan County Sheriff.

Regarding qualifications and experience, Bolack said, “...the Sheriff is basically an administrator and needs to be a businessman, and I’ve been a businessman for over fifty years---and a lifelong resident...graduated high school in 1969 and went on to get an engineering degree (electrical) at New Mexico State”. He referenced his time as an operator for the City of Aztec Utility. Then he said, “I’ve had a little bit of law enforcement---donated thousands of hours over at the Sheriff’s office during the last six years---volunteering, took all the classes in the Sheriff’s Reserve Academy, about 170 hours of law enforcement training, did about 450 ride-alongs, also hundreds of prisoner transports and district court security...”

Ferrari was a Reserve Deputy in San Juan County Sheriff’s Department. “Since that time I’ve held every rank and worked in every division; I hold all five New Mexico certifications, and am one of only a handful here in San Juan County that have that”, he stated. “I’ve got over 3000 Advanced Training hours and in addition to that I’m a graduate of the FBI Training Academy...and I’ve been the Under Sheriff for three and a half years.”

Regarding leadership style, Bolack said, “The people that work for me here on the operations I have, which I’ve formed a corporation, an LLC and a foundation---a lot of those people have worked anywhere from 20-30 plus years. They have duties to do, and if they do them---everything’s fine...and I’m pretty lenient for granting exceptions for personal time. And I want the employees, you know---to feel---it’s a good place to work. Law enforcement itself is not an easy career anyway, because of what you have to deal with...but I’m not a person who’s going to be breathing down any body’s neck.”

Ferrari said he loved Ronald Reagan and sorted out his favorite quote: “Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority and don’t interfere. And leadership for me---is getting people to do the things they don’t want to do---so they can accomplish the things they want to do...and I’ve tried to do that my whole life. Empower people, you know, we have a great staff over at the Sheriff’s Office---they’re passionate about their community...so empower them”, he said.

Asked about role models or a mentor in his life, Shane said, “Yeah, obviously my father, my dad’s been a local business owner his whole life, always had an amazing knack to move into things just at the right time...he’s a good man, never cheated anybody, always reminded me about my family name, it’s bigger than just Shane, I represent the Ferrari family...so my dad’s been a huge influence in my life.” Tommy said, “Oh...in a way my dad and mom cause---they were Republican, like I am---strong conservative values. As a kid I would do chores to earn money---it wasn’t just handed to me...that’s basically it.”

Both were asked to define the role of the Sheriff. Ferrari said, “The Sheriff is the chief preserver of the peace for the county... And that comes with a lot of responsibility...You not only have to know the rule of law---you’ve got to pay attention to protecting the Constitutional rights of others.”

Bolack differentiated the Sheriff from other top law officials, stating, “The Police Chief who’s appointed...and to me, being a citizen (that can hold the office as Sheriff) gives a greater chance that you can have a “citizens mindset”.

On the topic of Constitutional Rights---at times, possibly being jeopardized by jurisdictional debate, Bolack said, “Well, you’ve got all kinds of things going on...but the big issue seems to be Second Amendment, you know...all these things going on with guns. It’s up to law enforcement to enforce the laws as they stand...they don’t make the laws...but they can influence legislators to make laws that are equitable”.

Regarding potential jurisdictional conflict, Ferrari said, “I’ve not personally encountered that here in San Juan County.”

Of his top priorities---if elected, Bolack said, “Money’s going to be an issue up here...the possibility of the Power Plant going down---we’ve got a repressive economy here because of oil and gas...so I would like to get real serious and initiate the assistance of a professional grant writer...to supplement the income of the County.” He asserts that “by providing better law enforcement you can get the crime rate down...you will increase activity in the County and hopefully the tax-base and indirectly the County”. He would like to see the school campuses secured---and feels the State should do it, as they fund the schools.

Priorities for Ferrari would be “selecting the right people, first Under Sheriff”. He mentioned a review of ‘policies’...and, he said, “to sum-up in a couple of words---child safety”. The priorty is always to be able to respond to 911 calls. About child safety, he said, “We’ve identified some areas in which we can do better when it comes to preparation and more consistency in training between jurisdictions”. He wants to add personnel to narcotics, stating, “We do have an issue with drugs in our community.

Responding to a question of how accusations or evidence of corruption in their department would be handled, Ferrari said, “I will not tolerate corruption, I will fight it, I will prosecute it...I’m not going to have it under my watch...I was subjected to that when I was with ‘Narcotics’---I saw that first-hand”. Bolack said, “Well, I’ve never liked the ‘good -ole boy system’...and most communities have it, but, if there’s any kind of violation of the law...we’re going to uphold the law right there inside the office---just like we would out on the street. If they’ve done something to break the law, they need to atone for it...we’re still all citizens---down deep”.

The highest duty of the Sheriff is, “By law, keeper of the peace, but the Sheriff himself is the administrator and with the Under Sheriff sets direction for the Office, the policies and activities...to make a safer community”, Bolack said. Ferarri said the highest duty of Sheriff is,“Uphold Constitutional Rights...and that can go either way, both for the citizen and for the bad guy, the suspect”.

Asked about his legality stance on Cannabis, both medical and recreational, Bolack said, “Well, I never have approved of MJ at all...I really hated to see Colorado legalize it...I think if it’s available to the public---it ought to be just like other controlled substance---only available with a bona fied doctors prescription”. Ferrari said, “Well, in the State of New Mexico, medicinal marijuana is legal...and I’ve heard and read where they’re seeing not only advancements where people are using it for cancer. I’m never going to stand in somebody’s way---if you have cancer---of treating yourself, if that is a valid treatment...so if people can use this to help themselves and their quality of life---then yes. So now let’s talk about recreation---New Mexico is not ready for recreational use of marijuana.”

Shane said about handling stress on the job and in life, “It comes down to one word---and that’s---family. Spending time with the family, getting away from the cellphone for a little bit, I love getting out in nature---we camp a lot--we’re very outdoorsy. I have a wife of 22 years, I’ve got two kids...and it’s my family that keeps me grounded, even though I deal with some of the worst things in society, the world is still mostly good...and there’s a lot worth fighting for”. Tommy said, “My two oldies radio shows that I do weekly are a great stress reliever. Music does, indeed, soothe the savage beast. And I have kind of a retreat out there on the ranch---and it’s calming and soothing.”

 

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