EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – After Richard Wiles announced he will not seek reelection for sheriff after this term, the question still remains on who will soon take his place. On March 8, two names emerged as contenders, both with endorsements pushing them forward.

Current commander with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department Ryan Urrutia officially announced he will put his name on the ballot next year for Sheriff. Urrutia with over 25 years in the department is being endorsed by Wiles.

Urrutia believes that working his way up from being a detention officer is what qualifies him as a worthy candidate. The department including Wiles has made it a priority to enable those in the agency to work towards key roles.

“Part of me running for office fits that role. His mentorship, his guidance and leadership during my time with the office has been key for me to take on this responsibility, to run for office and lead this great agency of men and women into the future.” said Ryan Urrutia/ El Paso County Sheriff Candidate

Constable Oscar Ugarte is the other name that has emerged as a potential candidate for sheriff. Ugarte has over 20 years in law enforcement including Constable and the police department.

While Ugarte has not officially declared whether or not he will run for sheriff, he has been endorsed by Congresswoman Veronica Escobar.

Escobar released a statement about her endorsement for the constable that said, “I first came to know Constable Ugarte while I was County Judge and saw firsthand how innovative, thoughtful, and committed he was. He is a strong law enforcement leader, very focused on engaging with the community, and a talented professional. I have encouraged him privately and now publicly to consider running for the open seat.”

Representatives Joe Moody and Lina Ortega have also endorsed Ugarte for sheriff. Moody also released a statement about the push and why he is the ideal candidate saying in part,

“I think he’ll invest in the kind of community-oriented policing we need and make partners of the people he deserves. Oscar is also levelheaded and humble, so I think he’ll bring leadership and management to the office that his deputies and other law enforcement agencies will respect and respond to.”

While grateful for the endorsements, Ugarte explained he will weigh out his options before making a decision.

“I want to have conversations with members of our community to identify how I can better serve El Paso county I have not made a decision yet I am weighing my options but I want to thank the community of El Paso for giving me the opportunity to be their servant leader as constable.”

KTSM also speaking with County Judge Ricardo Samaniego about what he is looking for in an ideal candidate to which he explains that working together with the head of the department is most important.

“Of course, the leadership is one of the biggest components the ability to receive feedback to look at what’s going on and then to bring people together to solve any issue.” said Samaniego.

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