Hoy leading van Beek in sheriff race | VailDaily.com

Hoy leading van Beek in sheriff race

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Incumbent Joe Hoy held a slight edge in the sheriff race as of early this morning.

Hoy, a Republican, was less than 150 votes ahead of formidible challenger by James van Beek, an independent candidate with decades of law enforcement experience of his own.

At 1 a.m., Hoy was leading by 135 votes with more than 13,000 votes cast: 6,723-6,588.

About 300 ballots still had to be counted and final results were not available by press time.

Hoy has spent the last 21 years with the Eagle County Sheriff’s office, the last eight as sheriff.

“The mission is to provide the best level of service we can to the people of Eagle County with the resources we have,” Hoy said during the campaign.

The Sheriff’s Office will pursue that mission in the midst of an economic downturn that has seen budget reduced to 2005 levels, a reduction of around $2 million.

At the same time, the county commissioners are spending $43 million to expand the Justice Center, including a jail expansion. That requires additional jail staff, which makes Hoy’s budget juggling even more difficult.

Among the programs Hoy instituted in his eight years as sheriff is pay increases for additional training. As the program was instituted, when Sheriff’s Office staff completes training, their pay is increased.

But that program has been frozen, along with all other pay and benefits increases in every county department, including the Sheriff’s Office.

Van Beek touts his experience both locally and in Kosovo and Afghanistan, where he worked for the United Nations and the U.S. State Department in building up police departments in those countries.

He says his experience has given him the ability to handle multi-million-dollar budgets and diverse staffs. If elected, van Beek said he’s going to concentrate on getting officers out of their cars and into neighborhoods

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