Darren Hooker runs for county sheriff

Editor’s note: Darren Hooker is seeking the Republican nomination for Roosevelt County Sheriff in the June 6 primary. He is running against Tom Gossett.

Darren Hooker

Age: 37

Wife: Cecily

Background: Served as a military police officer from 1986 to 1996 and became certified in Santa Fe in 1996 for law enforcement in New Mexico. Served as a police officer for the Portales Police Department and Eastern New Mexico University police before joining the sheriff’s department. Roosevelt County deputy since 1999. He did a tour in Iraq as first lieutenant of the 126th Military Police and returned in March.

Q. How can night patrol and short-staffing problems be solved in Roosevelt County?

A. The office of the sheriff is tasked to provide law enforcement to the citizens of the county. I feel that if faced with the problem of short-staffing, I would manage the schedule to more effectively manage the current staff to allow for the most coverage at night. I am a certified law officer and therefore I could/would take calls to ensure that the citizens of our county received the best support possible. I would also foster the best working environment for the deputies so that they would want to stay and work for a quality organization, thus reducing the turnover rate that is a current problem at the Sheriff’s Office.

Q. What is the biggest challenge for the Sheriff’s Office and why?

A. The drug problem within our county. This is due in most part to the lack of active pursuing of the ones who make and import the drugs. There have been claims of “labs” being discovered and shut down, but that is not quite true. I also believe the drug problem should be aggressively attacked. I believe the sheriff should not wait for the criminal element to dictate our next move.

Q. What are the best ways Roosevelt County deputies can combat meth and other drug problems in the county?

A. I would use every asset available to bring this ever dangerous drug use and production to a stop, with training for the deputies, fire departments and other public servants on how to detect the items used to produce meth and the signs that someone is under the influence of the drug. This would greatly increase the number of people who would be able to combat this problem in our county.

Q. How would you deal with patrolling the county with the rising costs of fuel?

A. Unfortunately, gas prices continue to rise with no end in sight. To patrol our large county, it will take quality vehicles and a large amount of fuel to move them. I would be receptive and use every suggestion to combat the rising cost of gas. I do not feel that we can sacrifice coverage by taking patrols out of service with the limited resources already available.

Q. What approach would you use in getting information out to the community?

A. I will be available to the citizens of the county no matter what. To better facilitate the communication with the citizens, I would like to have a weekly radio spot where you can call and talk to the sheriff. I would also go to the town council meetings of the rural communities to answer any questions that the citizens might have. And I would encourage anyone that wanted to contact the sheriff to come see me. Being the people person that I am — will help greatly in this endeavor.

Q. Describe the management style you would use in this office?

A. My management style is one of leading by example. By being elected sheriff, I am not above taking out the trash or washing my vehicle. I will lead the deputies by not telling them to do anything that I would not do or have not already done in my 19 years of law enforcement.