Keeping the community safe and doing it within the budget is what Republican candidate Justin Smith says is the most important agenda in the sheriffâ€™s office.
The challenge, Smith says, is that county budgets are dropping and will continue to drop for the next three years â€“â€“Â Larimer Countyâ€™s overall budget dropped $5.22 million, $295.42 million to $290.64 million, from 2009 to 2010. Thus, keeping the community safe within that reduced budget becomes problematic.
The solution: â€œWe have to promote safety efficiently,â€ Smith said, sitting across a table in a patriotic GOP headquarters office off College Avenue.
Smith has served in a management role in the Larimer County Sheriffâ€™s Office, LCSO, for the last decade â€“â€“Â a time in which he said there has been a downward trend of crime within the county. The major attributes this decrease to better trained officers and more well-equipped teams that get their jobs done efficiently.
Married with two children, Smith has worked with LCSO for 19 years. In that time, he says he has seen many changes in policy and the manner in which LCSO employees do their jobs.
As part of that change, LCSO has and must continue to move into the Information Age with the rest of the world, Smith said.
He drew a comparison between Japanese car manufacturers and General Motors.
â€œWhen GM had assembly lines with two to 300 people working on them, the Asian manufacturers had automated the process and could make do with say 100.â€
As part of his tenure, Smith wants to be out, interacting with his community, rather than hiding away in the sheriffâ€™s office.
The 42-year-old Kansas native said that LCSOâ€™s work evacuating victims of the Reservoir Road Fire, which broke out west of Loveland in mid-September, is a prime example of how the deputies and sheriff can be out on the front lines, helping the countyâ€™s citizens.
â€œWhenever I would go to talk to them as a group, we would receive applause for what we weâ€™re doinâ€™ out thereâ€ Smith said.
â€œ â€¦ When the community feels safe and feels protected â€¦ they feel like you care about â€˜em,â€ Smith said.
Smith, too, has a vision of continued cooperation with all the law enforcement departments in the county.
This would mean bringing together leaders from LCSO, the Colorado State Patrol and county police departments to meet and â€œget on the same page.â€
â€œWhen something big happens, itâ€™s chaos. And when you have the trust of that captain next you, it can make a big difference,â€ Smith said.
The first item on Smithâ€™s agenda is to establish his own leadership team to the LCSO â€œbecause nobody ever does it on their own.â€ He wants to have a well-organized team of administrators to be able to delegate certain responsibilities within the department.
This edition of intuitive leadership would allow Smith to create a vision for the department and distribute different duties to his team to bring that vision to fruition.
â€œAll the three candidates will come in and be a different leader than Jim Alderdan has been, and they have to instill that from minute one, day one,â€ he said.
Staff writer Justin Rampy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.