Vail Daily letter: Van Beek can be counted on |

Vail Daily letter: Van Beek can be counted on

Darrel Cantrell
Vail, CO, Colorado

This letter is written in support of your independent candidate for Eagle County sheriff, James Van Beek.

Please allow me to introduce myself to you first. My name is Darrel Cantrell. I am retired from the Atlanta Police Department. I have never been to your county, so I can only base my opinions on how highly James speaks of the area and the people there. However, I have been working for James in Afghanistan for the past 21⁄2 years and would like to comment on this.

As most know, to really get to know someone you need to be around them for a long period of time. Here in Afghanistan, we work and live out of a small camp with approximately 140 people from all nationalities working with the Afghan National Police, teaching them to be professional, democratic police officers.

During the daytime, we work side by side, whether going out on missions with the Afghan Police or teaching them the basics at the police academies.

At the forefront of all this during my tenure has been James. I have had the opportunity to truly see James’ character and abilities in a variety of situations that arise in an environment like we are in, and a person could not ask for a more stable leader, co-worker and friend.

James met me on my first day at my assignment, making sure that I had the opportunity to settle in, assuring that I was fully briefed on duties and responsibilities and assuring that I was made to feel accepted and part of a team right away.

From that day, James had earned my respect and has maintained it from that point on, making sure he guided and assisted me in completing and accomplishing our mission.

James didn’t do this for just me. He did it for everyone.

James is always the first in to work, reading over briefs and collecting information to relay to his team, making sure they have the most up-to-date information for safe travels. He’s always available to navigate the quagmire of politics and issues that arise and helps coordinate activities with military forces, local Afghan groups and other nongovernment agencies working here.

James is the cool head in a crisis, the stability in our daily lives and the one we all respect.

No matter where someone came from, James takes the time to listen and learn about them. He truly cares about those he works with and understands the concept that being a supervisor means serving, supporting and taking care of those people who he works with and those he supervises.

James has always been there to take care of us, but this doesn’t mean he allowed us to do less than was expected of us. He always pressed for us to learn and perform in greater ways than we knew we could.

When needed, he told us “no.” When needed and the situation was less then optimal, he made us go out and get the job done, often right by our sides. James doesn’t just talk the points. He leads by example. There have been times when he has been stern and vetted out discipline and punishments, but he remained professional and never personal, always making it a learning process.

Being several thousands of miles away from our homes, there have been many times when issues have arisen in our personal lives where he was the one who listened and was the voice of reason, helping us navigate these issues, get through them and carry on.

With character like this, you cannot go wrong in making a choice for a person who will serve everyone in your county. When you place your vote for your next Eagle County sheriff, I would encourage every one of you to seriously consider and vote James Van Beek as your next sheriff.

Darrel Cantrell


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