Challenger for Grand County Sheriff, Stein, vows to maintain course |

Challenger for Grand County Sheriff, Stein, vows to maintain course

Hank Shell

Grand County Undersheriff John Stein has filed to run as a write-in candidate during the November election for sheriff, adding yet another twist to an already dramatic race for the county’s highest seat in law enforcement.

Stein, who has served with the sheriff’s office since 2009, filed his affidavit of intent to run unaffiliated on July 11.

“After requests from many people concerned about the direction the sheriff’s office may be headed and a few weeks of deliberation, I decided to file last Thursday, July 10,” Stein stated in an email.

He will face Fraser-Winter Park Police detective Brett Schroetlin in the November general election.

Candidate Schroetlin defeated incumbent Rod Johnson, who had served as sheriff for more than 20 years, in the June Republican primary.

Johnson appointed Stein to the position of undersheriff in November 2013.

“I believe I am the best candidate and choice for sheriff because of my experience and training in public safety since 1990, proven leadership experience, reasonable and consistent ethical decision-making, transparency and availability to the public, humility, integrity and determination to always do what’s right,” Stein said.

Old versus new

Stein said he seeks to maintain the changes that Johnson has made in recent years, contrasting Schroetlin who stated that it was time for “a new direction” in Grand County law enforcement during his campaign.

Schroetlin’s platform goals included increasing employee morale and retention, community involvement and establishing stronger partnerships with other law enforcement in the county.

Stein said one of the reasons he decided to run was because of concerns with Schroetlin’s campaign ideas.

“Other members of the department feel that many of the campaign ideas are unrealistic, unethical and increase liability,” Stein said. ”These members do not want to risk their career, tarnish the department’s public image and integrity, and become more of a militarized police presence in the county.”

Stein also said that low turnout during the primary election “did not allow for an open voting electorate to voice its opinion.”

Stay the course

Stein said that, if elected, his biggest priorities upon taking office would include sustaining changes that have been made in the last few years, including upgrading technology, training and buying new equipment.

“These changes start from within the sheriff’s office and are just starting to become a return on investment,” Stein said. “Many of these are tools to support personnel to be more effective, more efficient, and better equipped to perform their duties to the public.”

Stein also said he hoped to initiate some of his own changes, like improving grant writing.

“In the near future, technology requirements in public safety will require many expensive upgrades that may be partially or wholly funded through grants,” Stein said.

Improving community policing, crime prevention techniques, “proactive policing” and strategic alliances are also priorities.

Hank Shell can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610.

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