Vail Daily letter: Van Beek for sheriff

I have read several letters relating to the upcoming Eagle County election for sheriff. Evaluating the two candidates, we need to carefully assess who will be best for our community because the position is critical to the direction, effort and attitude our Sheriff’s Office will have.

The November election is just around the corner for Eagle County voters who will select their new Eagle County sheriff. James van Beek, a 25-year Eagle County resident, is clearly the most qualified candidate in the race. He knows our community, is committed to addressing our community concerns as well as focused on maintaining a high-quality law enforcement service for the citizens of Eagle County. James van Beek is enthusiastic, capable of making tough decisions and is a proven leader and law enforcement officer. He has compassion for law enforcement that is crucial for the Sheriff’s Office. He will bring leadership that is necessary for the betterment of the department, as well as the citizens and communities of Eagle County.

The candidates for sheriff have spoken of their visions for the Sheriff’s Office. James van Beek is the only candidate with the knowledge of what talent, training and equipment the Sheriff’s Office possesses. James van Beek has been preparing, both personally and professionally, to lead the members of the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office. He has built a strong foundation of experience in all aspects of law enforcement administration. He knows what it will take to protect and serve the lives and property of the citizens of Eagle County. Furthermore, he can relate to the deputy on the street or the one working the jail because of his experience.

Frequently, candidates for political office campaign on the “need for change” and the implication that things are broken and need to be fixed. Along those same lines, what usually accompanies that empty talk is the persuasion of the voting population who the candidate believes will help them get elected. What gets lost in all of the theatrics of politics is what matters most, is the fact and importance of providing high-quality professional public safety services to the citizens of Eagle County. One of the most significant ways to damage or reduce that level of public service is to make dramatic changes to the personnel structure of the organization shortly upon assuming office, usually consisting of multiple promotions, reassignments or terminations. Most often these changes are made because they can be made, not because they should be made. This revision of the organizational structure would reduce the 28 years or more of knowledge and experience that now exists with each of several current personnel in many key positions within the Sheriff’s Office. Change for the sake of change is rarely successful, especially in law enforcement. Change leads to confusion and paralysis when a new leader institutes change, especially for change’s sake. Everyone from the newest deputy to the command staff is impacted and seldom for the better. Knowledge and experience that took years to develop and can be eliminated overnight. James van Beek understands the value of continuity of operations within the Sheriff’s Office and has committed to making only those personnel and structure changes that are absolutely necessary upon being elected sheriff. James van Beek will thoughtfully review and evaluate the effectiveness of each and every operation within the Sheriff’s Office before making any changes. He believes in accountability for everyone in all areas of the Sheriff’s Office. James van Beek has the vision to lead the office forward with new programs and ideas, including cost-saving measures for our taxpayers, while continuing to build upon the current successes and competencies which exist with current personnel which have taken years to develop.

The position of sheriff is one of trust. James van Beek has earned the trust of his past fellow deputies and the community of Eagle County. He is a good man who shows genuine concern for his employees, their families and the people of this community, and demonstrates a high degree of integrity, responsibility and accountability in everything he does.

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As you cast your vote for Eagle County sheriff, please take time and listen to the candidates during the upcoming public forums and read about their backgrounds, past party affiliations, education and experience on their websites. Evaluate the candidates in terms of education, experience and vision. I believe that a careful analysis of each candidate will result in the conclusion that James van Beek is the most qualified candidate in the race and deserves your vote.

Sally Thomas

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