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Vail Daily letter: Van Beek for sheriff

Why James van Beek for sheriff?

He is one of us, born in Colorado and a resident of Eagle County for over 25 years.

I have been friends with James for 25 years. I met James when I started here as a prosecutor. We found that we were both U.S. Army veterans with a lot in common. Since then, I came to know his then-girlfriend and now wife of 22 years, Carrie, and his sons, Louis and William.

I have seen James as a road deputy, a field training officer and as detective. I worked with Vail Resorts when James was the first investigator on scene for the Two Elk eco-terrorist fire on Vail Mountain. He walked through fire for us then.

As a deputy and for Vail Resorts as a security supervisor, James worked the 1999 Worlds, several World Summits as well as many other large events. That experience and knowledge will be invaluable during the 2015 events.

James has served on local government, HOA, and nonprofit boards. He has handled large budgets as part of those boards as well as in his position as police commander in Kosovo.

In 2000, James went to work for the U.N. mission in Kosovo coordinating and running local police forces. His multi-lingual abilities proved their value with international police officers and residents. In Kosovo, James dealt with riots and learned firsthand what was lost on the police in Ferguson, Mo. Using SWAT tactics as a first response can escalate a situation where community policing may prove to be better. James’ opponent on the other hand was trained in Florida to use SWAT techniques.

While working in Kosovo, James would volunteer with the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office while on break back here in Eagle, eventually returning full time to the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.

In 2006, the U.S. State Department asked him to serve in Afghanistan. He set up and trained police forces there as well for 4 1/2 years.

James has worked here in Eagle County for ECO Transit, an honorable way to help support his family until he can return to law enforcement, as well as continuing to volunteer and serve his community.

His opponent’s ad in the Vail Daily (Sept. 5) caused me to look up the word “carpetbagger” — “an outsider, especially a politician, who presumptuously seeks a position or success in a new locality.” If his opponent was such a success in Florida, why did he leave? If he is so great at Vail, why is he seeking a new job after only two years? If the chief position becomes available in Vail, will he try to jump ship again?

A friend of mine said that his rule for voting is that someone must live in the district they are running in for at least as long as the term in office. James would qualify by a factor of six; his opponent has two more years to go.

Eagle County needs to elect one of us! Elect James van Beek for sheriff!

Bruce Carey


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