Q&A with Don Charobee, Democratic candidate for Elbert County sheriff

Tabatha Stewart
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 9/10/18

Tell us a little about yourself. I first moved to Colorado in 1987 with my wife of 38 years, Julie. I was promoted to a supervisory position in Atlanta, and returned to Colorado in 2006. We purchased …

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Q&A with Don Charobee, Democratic candidate for Elbert County sheriff

Posted

Tell us a little about yourself.

I first moved to Colorado in 1987 with my wife of 38 years, Julie. I was promoted to a supervisory position in Atlanta, and returned to Colorado in 2006. We purchased our home in Spring Valley Ranch 11 years ago.

I graduated from Cleveland State University, with a degree in political science. I began my career in law enforcement 38 years ago, as an inspector with the U.S. Customs Service. I was a street agent for 20 years, and was promoted several times within federal law enfocement.

Since my retirement in 2014, I have worked in the private sector, specializing in anti-money laundering and white-collar crimes.

I enjoy cycling, reading, Rockies baseball and fly fishing. I am a gun owner and enjoy traveling in my mid-life crisis vehicle, a red Camaro convertible.

What makes you the best choice for sheriff?

I have extensive experience in supervisory positions. I have been responsible for managing large budgets, the purchase of assets and oversight of personnel issues including hiring, training, promotions, discipline and terminations. I know how to build a team and motivate people.

My headquarters assignment taught me how to effectively plan for and manage large-scale law-enforcement agencies. Additionally, my seven years leading internal-affairs cases for DHS/ICE has given me a perspective that is applicable to managing any law-enforcement agency.

How has population growth affected crime in the county?

As the county becomes more congested, problems in infrastructure and services mount. More people means additional traffic and accidents. There will be more issues involving domestic violence and assaults, property crimes, injuries and deaths. Increased frequency of calls for services will necessitate increased staffing for the sheriff’s office.

The commissioners have not managed growth and our first responders will have to shoulder the responsibility for keeping our communities safe.

How can law enforcement be improved in Elbert County, and how would you approach doing that?

The biggest challenge facing the sheriff’s office is the attrition rate. We continuously lose experienced deputies to other metro/suburban departments. This results in longer response times and less coverage in some areas of the county.

We can improve this by recruiting experienced personnel. We can also change the way we schedule patrols and areas of coverage through districting and sharing office space with police and fire services in outlying areas. This will reduce travel time and maintain a presence in outlying areas.

Should it be easier to take guns out of the hands of people with mental illness who have been deemed a threat to themselves or others?

It would be easier to keep guns out of the hands of those with mental incapacities than to take their guns later. The ideas behind the recent “red flag law” are commendable, however implementation of that law is complicated by the fact that gun ownership and possession is difficult to determine. Enforcement of the law is nearly impossible without additional resources. Something must be done and the Legislature should address the issue.

What will your top priority be if elected?

Upon election I will initiate an audit of the department assets, expenses and finances. I will review policies/procedures to look for ways to better manage expenses and identify gaps, like those that resulted in the loss of two military-grade weapons. I will keep what works and eliminate waste and weaknesses. I also hope to equip each patrol car with automated external defibrilators, EpiPens and Narcan.

A sheriff with experience is needed to manage 50 deputies and support staff, encourage and expand the posses, and revitalize our reserve deputy and Explorers programs. Proper oversight of a budget of almost $4 million requires strong management experience and understanding of the field to best address law-enforcement challenges.

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