Sheriff candidates weigh in (7-25-2006)

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Two Republicans and an independent campaigning to become Moffat County's next top cop, may differ on philosophies and along party lines, but they share at least one common trait.

They each draw their paychecks by helping to serve and protect county residents.

All three of the candidates for Moffat County Sheriff -- Deputy Vic Alton, Undersheriff Jerry Hoberg and Sgt. Tim Jantz -- are employed with the Sheriff's Office.

GOP candidates Hoberg and Jantz, who seek the Republican nomination in the Aug. 8 primary, debated ideas during Monday's political forum at Centennial Mall. Alton, a late entry into the race, addressed the crowd beforehand.

Undersheriff for the past seven years, Hoberg said the advance to the sheriff's position was a natural evolution that presented him with new challenges. He said experience in managing a $3.1 million budget and 40 employees qualifies him for the job.

"This sheriff's race is about experience," Hoberg said. "I've been doing all that for the last seven years."

Hoberg listed employee retention and recruitment, community involvement, grant writing and continuing to fight illegal narcotics as top priorities.

His opponent, Jantz, said his 24 years of experience gives him a blueprint for serving as sheriff. He said getting out into the public would be a top priority.

"I believe it's about law enforcement in the field," Jantz said. "When you need help ... we're going to be there."

Jantz, a lifelong resident, said his desire to serve as sheriff comes from a dedication to the community.

"I care deeply about the people here," Jantz said.

The candidates also addressed the topic of naming a top right-hand man in managing the Sheriff's Office.

Hoberg said Sgt. Rick Holford, a law enforcement veteran of 26 years, would be his undersheriff.

Jantz said he had not spoken with anyone at length about the position and preferred to keep the race focused on his candidacy.

However, he dispelled a rumor that he would name current Sheriff Buddy Grinstead as his second-in-line should he be victorious in August and November. He pledged that his undersheriff would not be "anyone from the past or current administration."

Alton, an Independent, was given five minutes to introduce himself to voters. He, like his two colleagues, listed experience and dedication to the public as positive traits for voters to consider.

"I will be accountable to you, the people of Moffat County," said Alton, a law enforcement officer with 30 years' experience.

He laid out a three-part strategy -- education, treatment and enforcement -- in battling the area's methamphetamine problem.

Alton said he's looking forward to the general election, and to a potential term as sheriff.

"I look forward to Nov. 7 and the challenges that lay ahead," the deputy said.

Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or jroberts@craigdailypress.com.

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