Two Republican candidates have plans to file for Sheriff

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FARMINGTON — Tommy Bolack, 66, has a long history of philanthropy in San Juan County. Now the Farmington resident hopes to make a difference in the world of politics and law enforcement.

“I’ve tried to give back to the community,” Bolack said while sitting in his office at the museum on his property. “I know I’m fortunate with what I have.”

Bolack is one of two Republicans who have announced plans to file for San Juan County Sheriff. He will run against San Juan County Undersheriff Shane Ferrari during the primary elections this summer. The Democratic Party has not yet announced a candidate for sheriff.

Candidates for county offices such as Sheriff or county commissioner must file on March 13 at the San Juan County Clerk’s Office.

Ferrari has told The Daily Times he would continue the work that Sheriff Ken Christesen has started, including partnering with community organizations that serve people with mental illness. Christesen, who is in his second term, is not eligible to run for reelection.

While Ferrari has two decades of professional law enforcement experience, Bolack’s only law enforcement experience comes from volunteering with the Sheriff’s Office.

He said he was prompted to run for Sheriff about a year ago because he wasn’t able to do as much as a volunteer as he was previously doing.

While Bolack served as a special deputy, he has since been suspended. Bolack said the suspension came because of complaints of erratic driving. However, in 2014, The Daily Times acquired a memo indicating some deputies believed Bolack’s service was compromising their cases.

Bolack said being removed from the special deputy position was one of the reasons he chose to run for Sheriff. He said he wants to continue supporting the law enforcement efforts in the county.

Bolack said his background as a resident with no professional law enforcement experience gives him unique insight. For example, he said the relationship with the public could be improved through increased communication.

If elected, he has several issues he would like to focus on: the high numbers of people driving while intoxicated, illegal immigration and drug use.

Bolack said he would like to have stricter penalties as well as education initiatives to prevent people from getting a second driving while intoxicated conviction.

Bolack said illegal immigration is also a challenge.

“I definitely support (President Donald) Trump’s plan to get control on our border,” he said.

Bolack said the country should focus on helping illegal immigrants who are already in the United States achieve a path to citizenship on a case-by-case basis.

He said illegal drugs such as methamphetamine as well as prescription opiates are also a big problem for San Juan County.

“It’s ruining a lot of our population,” Bolack said.

Bolack said he would work with Region II narcotics task force to reduce the drug abuse in San Juan County.

Bolack previously ran for San Juan County Commission in 1994, but lost to Democratic Party candidate Ervin Chavez.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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