Democratic sheriffâ€™s candidate Jay Harrison says that his campaign is about one thing: accountability.
With taxpayersâ€™ dollars funding a large part of the Larimer County Sheriffâ€™s Office, the Fort Collins resident says he wants to bring the department back to the people.
â€œWe want to make sure that we are providing the best service to the people in the county, that we possibly canâ€ Harrison said, sitting in a room in the Larimer County Democratic Party headquarters on Mason Street late in September.
Harrison hopes to replace current-sheriff Jim Alderden, who has reached his 12-year term limit. Harrison is the first Democrat to take a shot at winning the sheriff seat since 1962 and, if elected, will be the first blue party leader since 1936.
For his first act as sheriff, Harrison says he intends to reverse the upside-down power structure within the department. Currently, he said, there are too many administrators and not enough deputies to interact with and serve on the streets and in the jail.
This change would free up money in LCSOâ€™s budget, which is currently under stress as a result of too much money filtering into administrative training and education, he said.
Larimer County recently conducted a survey of all of its departments, including LCSO, which asked its employees to rate their quality of supervision, equipment and more. According to Harrison, sheriffâ€™s office employees came back saying they were the least satisfied of all surveyed.
If elected, Harrison believes itâ€™s his duty to keep employees happy and productive â€“â€“ something that will benefit the people of Larimer County in the long run.
Harrison, too, wants to promote â€œgrass rootsâ€ policing. From this, people would see more LCSO deputies, and the sheriff himself, out on the streets.
Harrison has been in law enforcement for 26 years, split between a couple counties including Larimer and Routt counties â€“â€“Â this incorporates Steamboat Springs, Hayden and Keystone, among other cities.
He runs his own business, called Academy for Law Enforcement K-9, which imports K-9â€™s from different places in Europe to come and serve as service dogs with K-9 units across the country.
In his time, he has served as a K-9 unit officer, a SWAT team member and a Field Training Officer. Harrison believes all of his experience, including 15 years in Larimer County, makes him a well-rounded candidate who understands how a sheriffâ€™s office should be run.
As a supporter of the Second Amendment and member of the National Rifle Association, Harrison hopes to help standardize concealed weapons training in the state so that everyone who carries a concealed weapon has the same training.
A Democratic or Republican candidate doesnâ€™t mean much in a sheriffâ€™s race Harrison said, â€œOnce youâ€™re in office there are no party affiliations to be accounted for.â€
Staff writer Justin Rampy can be reached at email@example.com.