The Larimer County Sheriffâ€™s Office has for too long trimmed the fat of its budget from the countyâ€™s jail system, Independent sheriff candidate Dell Bean says.
With the overall office looking at deficits in 2011, he said he would rather see money cut from the other half dozen departments within LCSO than risk the safety of guards, inmates and community members alike.
Current Sheriff Jim Alderden told the Collegian earlier this month that LCSO will cut five and three-quarter positions, which includes cutting several entirely, reducing a contract with the county jailâ€™s psychologist and cutting othersâ€™ hours. This, he believes, will save hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Though unpopular, Bean said the fairest option is a retail sales tax increase. The current extension, of 0.2 percent, went into effect in 1998 and will expire in 2014.
The tax generates approximately $7 million annually, $1.2 million of which goes to paying off the jail expansion.
If that tax expires, it will be difficult for law enforcement in Larimer County, said Bean, who sported a cowboy hat and stood out from every other customer in stature and size at the Perkins in Old Town on Oct. 5.
If elected sheriff, Bean wants to level out LCSOâ€™s staffing.
Currently, Bean said, a major oversees â€œsupport services,â€ or Human Resources within the department. Rather than pay an additional major, the 62-year-old Fort Collins resident said he would include oversight of HR in the responsibilities of the undersheriff.
Much like Jay Harrison, Democratic sheriff candidate, Bean believes in a triangle form of management, or a traditional hierarchy.
The department, he said, is currently top heavy with administrators and lacking in numbers of deputies patrolling the streets. Under his tenure, he plans to demote administrators to fill these positions or â€œdo awayâ€ with them entirely and hire new deputies.
As a part of this change, Bean said it has the potential to affect LCSOâ€™s immediate response time. He wants to have more deputies spread across the entire county instead of concentrated in the city to level out deputy response times.
When simply issuing tickets, it can seem that there are too many officers for the crime committed, Bean said. But the tables can turn when a crisis occurs.
Bean, who also ran for Sheriff in 1990, said he would bring in his own management team as part of the shift.
This would include a new undersheriff, chief investigator and chief of patrol. He reiterated that the people in those positions currently would not be fired just relocated within the department.
Bean, who is divorced with two sons, four stepsons and 11 grandkids, has 42 years of law enforcement experience, including time spent in the public and private sector. He began his career with Fort Collins Police, with whom he spent about eight and a half years.
Later, he worked at LCSO as an investigator and had the responsibility of running the crime lab.
He has lived in Larimer County for 47 years and attended CSU for a few semesters until he and his family could no longer afford it. He has worked ever since, mostly in law enforcement.
Staff writer Justin Rampy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.