With no County sales tax and allegations of uninvestigated sexual assaults in the West End of Montrose County, the new Sheriff will have a lot on his plate, but the candidates say they are more than capable of solving these problems and more.
Republican Rick Dunlap served 21 years in the US Army, has worked for the Montrose Police Department and is currently a code enforcement officer. Dunlap also has eleven years experience with the Sheriff's Office and now he's hoping his background will get him elected as the next sheriff of Montrose County. Dunlap says this is something he has had his eye on for a lot of years. He says he feels that he has prepared himself for this position. Since leaving the Sheriff's Office in 1991, he has kept himself abreast of the problems in the County as well as the challenges that face the Sheriff's Office.
Democratic candidate Andrew Major moved to Montrose in 2002, in the past he has worked for the San Miguel County Sheriff's office in Telluride but currently works for Lead Excavation. Major says he was approached by quite a few people to run for Sheriff, so he decided to throw his hat in the ring.
On July 1st of this year, Montrose County's 1% sales tax came to an end, forcing County Commissioners to cut the Sheriff's Office budget by 5%.
Dunlap says that throughout his campaign he has stated he will scrutinize the Sheriff's Office within every division and position to ensure the department is operating in the most efficient and effective way possible.
Major says he feels that there are other ways to bring income into the Sheriff's Department. One of those things he thinks the County should start to do is house immigrants waiting deportation and bring in federal money into the Sheriff's Department.
Another issue facing the Sheriff's Office is allegations that several sexual assaults have gone uninvestigated in the West End of Montrose County. Dunlap says as Sheriff he fully intends to ensure that deputies in the West End are trained in the areas of report writing and investigative tools. He says he intends to send investigators from the East End to the West End to make sure those deputies know what is expected when they file a report for prosecution. Major agrees that the West End is part of the county so you have to investigate everything you do in the West End with the equivalence of how you take action in the East End of the county.
Both candidates add that the sheriff's office is understaffed and current employees would benefit from more up–to–date training.
Also in the running for Montrose County Sheriff is write–in candidate Robert Walraven.
Click on the "Video Included Link" at the top of this story to see what the candidates say a vote for them means as well as why they differ from their opponent