The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Candidate Q&As: Roosevelt County sheriff

 


Malin Parker and Darrell Chenault, both Republicans, are seeking a four-year term as Roosevelt County sheriff.

Parker is the incumbent.

Candidates were given the same questions, and asked to answer them on the spot.

Absentee voting begins Tuesday and will take place Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. until June 1 and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on June 2 at the Roosevelt County Courthouse.

Early voting will be available at the Memorial Building from May 19 to June 2, Tuesday through Friday from noon to 8 a.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Tuesday at 5 p.m. is the deadline to register to vote in the primary election.

The primary is June 5.

The annual salary for Roosevelt County sheriff will be $65,000, effective Jan. 1.

Malin Parker is seeking his second term as Roosevelt County sheriff.

Summarize your understanding of the job description for county sheriff.

There are many duties of the county sheriff. They range from everything from protecting life and property to civil service to being a good keeper of taxpayer dollars, prisoner transports and, I believe, treating your community members with respect and courtesy.

What professional experience, or otherwise, have you had that you feel qualifies you for this position?

Prior to law enforcement, I had five years managerial experience as the warehouse manager at Southwest Canners. Now that I've been in law enforcement, my experience is vast.

I have 19 continuous years of law enforcement with 12 of that being in management. I have worked investigations in both narcotics and homicide. I have a current (New Mexico Department of Public Safety) certification at the executive level. I have approximately 1,900 hours of advanced training in law enforcement and, again, I have 19 years continuous service in on-the-job training, and am current and knowledgeable in all areas of law enforcement to date.

Have you ever been arrested and/or charged with a crime? If so, when, what were the details and what was the disposition?

Yes, I have - 28 years ago for a DWI. I pled guilty, paid my fines and have not had except for one traffic ticket since then.

What is the biggest challenge you anticipate for the term, should you be elected?

I would say in my job, it's hard to do the job that I have to do with the limited resources and revenue I have to do it with. A person has to have a good understanding of the budget and how it works in order to complete the task at hand. I think that's my biggest obstacle.

What is your view on requiring dashboard and/or body cameras for any deputy on patrol and allowing public access once a decision is made on whether to file charges?

We are transparent. All of our records and videos are public record, so we have nothing that is not available to the public after the case has been filed. Now, equipping all deputies with dashboard cameras and body cameras is different, because we don't always have the funding to do that, but we do do it in every case when the funds are available to make them useful in the vehicle and on the deputies.

What is your view on arming public school teachers to combat potential active-shooter situations?

I think it's something that could be looked into and addressed in the affirmative. I think there needs to be policy and I think there needs to be training. As long as the right policies, procedures and training were in place, I could be for that.

Why do you want this job?

Because I started this career 19 years ago - actually, longer than that as a reserve deputy. This has been my passion in life, this is what I found that I'm good at. I've never wanted to do anything since I started this job, and I love helping our citizens. I love helping protect the place that I live and raise my family.

Darrell Chenault is a former New Mexico State Police officer and Elida school teacher.

Summarize your understanding of the job description for county sheriff.

You're the chief law enforcement officer of Roosevelt County, and by that you oversee the deputies, and you're the primary law enforcement here in the county. The city has theirs, the state highways has theirs, and the county has the county department, and I want to be a part of that.

What professional experience, or otherwise, have you had that you feel qualifies you for this position?

I think my greatest experience is I've been a EMT volunteer fireman for about 35 years, and obviously I have also been a New Mexico State Police officer for 10 years. I was stationed in Farmington for two years, I was then transferred to Lovington for three years, and then I got transferred to here in Roosevelt County, stationed in Elida, for five years. It was just awesome. I quit happy.

I just decided to become a farmer. My dad quit farming and I took over the farm, and later on I went back to school and became a school teacher.

Also in that time, I was a municipal judge there in Elida, and I handled the cases that the Elida Police Department brought before me, and then two years ago I jumped back in and worked for the town of Elida in a part-time and full-time basis as a city police officer there. That kind of gave me that hunger again, and I'm ready to give it a try.

Have you ever been arrested and/or charged with a crime? If so, when, what were the details and what was the disposition?

Never been arrested. I've been charged for a crime - I've got speeding tickets. That's about it.

What is the biggest challenge you anticipate for the term, should you be elected?

I think the biggest challenge we've got is to try to get police as not being the enemy anymore. In the last few years, police officers have really been given a black eye, and just because of the bad of a very, very, very small few.

Our deputies and police officers in general are battling a different kind of community now that perceives the police officer as the person that does wrong a lot of the time.

I really think we've got to build on that. Our world has also turned ugly in a way, as far as schools go, and so unfortunately I think our deputies and myself need to be in our local schools.

Being seen is a deterrent, and our little county schools - Floyd, Dora and Elida - they're kind of stuck out there on their own. I don't ever foresee something bad happening, but I can't think of the idea that something does happen and we weren't prepared the best we could be. I want my deputies to be seen in the hallways; whether it's just for 15 minutes, I want them to be seen. I want them to eat a lunch break there, as well as myself. I think we've just got that duty to our kiddos and to our schools.

What is your view on requiring dashboard and/or body cameras for any deputy on patrol and allowing public access once a decision is made on whether to file charges?

I'm all for cameras. Obviously, in the day I worked, there were no cameras, and I look back at it now, and I would gladly have wore one. I am very pro-cameras. I don't want it to look as a way to catch an officer in doing something wrong. I want it to be used as a tool to show the officer as right.

What is your view on arming public school teachers to combat potential active-shooter situations?

Well, me being a school teacher, I would have no problem carrying a gun in a school if I was asked. Now, I think it should be on an extreme limited basis. There should be very high qualifications there - a former police officer, a former person in the military, or someone that has some advanced training, and I would be all for it. I would not mandate it on anyone.

Why do you want this job?

I think my biggest push in all of this is being a servant to my neighbors. Roosevelt County is deep in my blood, and I've lived here 51 of my 56 years, and I just have a deep love for our way of life. The farming and ranching lifestyle is something I'm very proud of, and I don't believe there's a greater lifestyle out there. We fight the wind, we fight the droughts, but I think that brings us closer together. It's a very godly community, and anytime you can walk closer to your Lord and Savior, you're gonna have a good day.

 

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