Vail Daily letter: Clear choice for sheriff | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily letter: Clear choice for sheriff

Heather Dorf Rawlings
Vail, CO, Colorado

I am writing this letter in support of Joe Hoy’s candidacy for sheriff. Joe is an outstanding man of exemplary character, and this is reflected in the changes that he has made in the Sheriff’s Office.

Joe’s commitment to the Eagle Valley is evident. He has built his life here and has dedicated his career to making Eagle County a safer community.

Recently, he took me on a tour of the detention center. It is a remarkable facility that runs with quiet efficiency. The inmates are respectful, and the staff returns that respect. It is remarkably quiet and, surprisingly (given the lack of privacy), it’s calm.

It’s no “spa.” It’s a Spartan and privacy-free area.

The inmates are encouraged to work and to be responsible for themselves. In the new area, inmates clean and do their own laundry. They are also encouraged to participate in other jobs, both inside and outside the jail. Inmate labor saved the county $300,000 in the past year alone.

That, added to the fact that the design of the new wing allows for a reduction in manpower to guard the inmates, plus the substantial savings in construction materials that the design permitted, shows that a little forethought goes a long way toward reaping long-term benefits.

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That is not simply fiscal conservatism, it’s fiscal conservancy. From what I understand, my hour-long tour of the new area means that I have now spent more time in the new wing than Hoy’s opponent has.

While I have heard that Joe has a department that is “top heavy with administrative salaries,” the reality is that Joe has experienced law enforcement officials, such as Bill Kaufman, working with him. Bill is a certified jail administrator, one of only a handful in the country.

Walking around the jail, you can see that a justice system that complex simply cannot be run by an inexperienced person ruled only by the bottom line.

Bill’s philosophy is that the inmates, upon their release, will not be released to find more victims. Rather, they’ll get support and help, and will emerge from our detention facility better than they were when they entered it.

When dealing with the penal process, I want administrators who have the experience to get it right. And, as in every business, you have CEOs who get paid more because they are worth it.

That’s not wrong, that is reality. In the business of serving and protecting, that is not where I want my corners cut. It is also a testament to Joe’s character that in the last election he ran against Bill Kaufman. They now work as a team, and the rapport between them is professional, yet comfortable. Joe has made a commitment to hiring and retaining quality officers. He also believes that our community will be better served by allowing the officers to improve themselves and to advance their careers through on-the-job experiences, and training. As someone who grew up in this valley and who has chosen to raise our children here, I can say without reservation that Joe is the clear choice for sheriff.

Heather Dorf Rawlings