EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — In a little less than a month, four candidates will go head-to-head for the El Paso County Sheriff’s seat.
All four candidates in the Democratic Primary have law enforcement backgrounds. KTSM caught up with them to ask where they stand when it comes to staffing for the department and whether or not they think that affects response times.
Incumbent Richard Wiles has held the position of El Paso County Sheriff since 2009. “We have three stations fielding four to five officers every shift, three eight hour shifts. Now with two 12-hour shifts. We field between eight and nine deputies,” Wiles explained to KTSM.
He says that’s allowed deputies’ response times for priority calls to exceed the national average, while lower priority calls remain consistent with national standards.
Ron Martin, a sergeant with EPPD and president of El Paso Municipal Police Officer’s Association is hoping to unseat Wiles. Martin says he’s running because he believes a change in leadership at the County Sheriff’s Office is needed.
“What you have to remember about El Paso County — the police department has over 1,000 officers for the city but the Sheriff’s Office only has about 150 deputies who respond to the entire county,” Martin said.
Carlos Carrillo is also running for sheriff.
“Technically the sheriff’s office is not backlogged when it comes to service calls to the community but as an example is a growing community growing in population and we have to prepare ourselves for that growth and the service calls that will be coming in one year, two, three years or longer,” said Carrillo.
As a retired El Paso Police officer, Carrillo’s solution to staffing would be to make all detention officers peace officers.
Also vying for the title of County Sheriff is ex-EPPD officer Raul Mendiola.
“I am an ex-reserve officer for another agency. I was there 13 years and bring that expertise. Of course, reserve officers take time to train but if I can get retired officers to come in and cover the areas it would increase patrols,” said Mendiola.
The Democratic Primary is March 3. Early voting begins around the county on February 18.