Harvey vows a more proactive Sheriff’s Office
Candidates James van Beek and Daric Harvey will debate live at 7 p.m. tonight on KZYR, 97.7. The debates will be rebroadcast on ECO TV channel 18
EAGLE COUNTY — When Daric Harvey moved to the valley a few years ago as a commander with the Vail Police Department, he said he noticed things the Sheriff’s Office should be doing but isn’t.
He said he’s running for Eagle County Sheriff to help make those changes.
“I started to notice that there is so much more the Sheriff’s Office could be doing for the community. All they need is the leadership to do it,” Harvey said. “We should have more interaction with law enforcement than looking in our rearview mirror and seeing flashing lights.”
Harvey, 39, has 19 years in law enforcement. He said he and his family moved to the area to ski and enjoy life, and so he could be one of Vail’s two police commanders.
Harvey was formerly with the Osceola County Sheriff’s Department in Central Florida, near Orange County and Disney World, so he says he knows about working in tourist areas.
During his career, he has served as a patrol lieutenant, liaison to the county division of Emergency Management Emergency Operations Center, a homicide detective, a SWAT team member, an accreditation manager, a law enforcement instructor and a watch commander in patrol. He has coordinated research and development projects as well.
He said being Eagle County’s Sheriff would be the “next logical step on my career path.”
“There’s an element of professional growth that goes with this,” Harvey said.
He said being a homicide detective, which he has done, is probably the most glamorous rung on the law enforcement career ladder. In addition to solving crime, they “help a family whose loved one has been murdered, sometimes horrifically,” Harvey said.
“I have investigated some of the worst crimes imaginable and always treated everyone involved with dignity and respect,” he said.
The mission for all law enforcement agencies is to serve the community, he said. There is no shortage of programs that could be instituted, but Harvey said he’s cautious about the money. Managing the Sheriff’s Office means managing budgets and people, he said.
“It boils down to balance. Enforcement has to take place in some instances. But the community should see you being more proactive than just reactive.”
Training is part of it, and so is community outreach. Harvey said he understands that Sheriff’s deputies have to enforce the law. However it would help if they had already established relationships with the community involved.
Expanding the school resource officer program can help kids and their parents get acquainted with law enforcement, he said. Federal grants can help pick up part of that tab, he said.
Occasionally, deputies break up a party where high school kids are drinking. People get upset, but it goes with the job. It’s another way a school resource officer can help, Harvey said.
“It goes back to the parents and cultural norms of a family. The key is not just the involvement of the kids but the parents too,” he said.
Hurt feelings will heal more quickly and completely than broken hearts stemming from dead kids, Harvey said.
“You can find communities that have had that happen and had a group of high school kids who were killed. That changes a community forever,” Harvey said.
Proactive, not reactive
Harvey said that, right now, the Sheriff’s Office a very “reactive” organization and some of its policies are “somewhat dated.”
“Instead of just waiting for people to come to us, we should be out there,” he said. “We have road patrol and investigations, and that’s what we have. It’s not necessarily having people in patrol cars; it’s having them engaged with the community.”
They’ve tried to be more proactive in Vail, he said. Certain spots see more fights than others, so they put additional officers there. They were trying to find drugs, when someone told them about a guy in the Vail Transportation Center who was giving away free heroin hits, trying to get people hooked.
“You do everything you can to combat that, but you must also have a relationship with the community because no matter how many eyes and ears you have, the public always has more,” Harvey said.
Part of it is reaching out to other people and other places, finding out what is working there and determining if it will it work here, he said.
Some programs are already working. Harvey started an Explorer program, which is, affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, through the Vail Police department.
“When I first got to the area people told me it would never work here, and that the kids don’t want to be involved with that,” he said.
But it does work and they have 23 on the roster and another two dozen who will soon be involved.
“I believe in innovative ideas that improve the delivery of law enforcement service and engage the community as a partner while still maintaining fiscal responsibility,” he said. “It’s not that bad things cannot happen here, because in the past year we’ve seen that they can. But more than that, it’s engaging the community, getting out there and being part of it.”
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.