Republican sheriff hopefuls share platforms at North Routt forum
Republicans Nick Bosick, Garrett Wiggins discuss education, cooperation
July 18, 2010
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The Aug. 10 primary is an all-mail election. Registered Republican voters, even if they are marked inactive, will receive a ballot from the Routt County Clerk and Recorder’s Office.
North Routt — Nick Bosick and Garrett Wiggins said that no matter what happens in the Republican primary for Routt County sheriff, the important thing to them is to unseat the incumbent.
At a forum Sunday at Moonhill Schoolhouse in North Routt County, each leveled muted criticism at Sheriff Gary Wall, who was elected in 2006. Wiggins, who lost to Wall that year, said he thought it was just a weak election year for Republicans. He and Wall were relatively unknown, he said.
"At that time, Gary didn't have a track record," Wiggins said. "Well, he's got one hell of a track record now."
Wall encountered controversy when he was convicted in 2008 of driving while ability impaired. He also has butted heads with the Routt County Board of Commissioners concerning budget issues.
"I'm going to run on my positive things I've done in my office. I've got an incredible record," Wall said.
Wiggins is the commander of the All Crimes Enforcement Team, and Bosick is a detective with the Steamboat Springs Police Department. They'll face off in a primary Aug. 10, and the winner will face Wall in November. B.J. and Chuck Vale organized Sunday's forum to educate the community about the candidates, and about 25 people attended.
Bosick petitioned his way on to the ballot after he didn't get the required number of votes at the Republican Assembly in April. He won 12 percent of the votes at the assembly to Wiggins' 72 percent.
After the assembly, Bosick initially said he wouldn't petition to get onto the ballot. A member of the audience asked why he changed his mind, and Bosick said he decided to run because of consistent encouragement from the community and his family.
Wiggins pointed to experience and passion as some of his top qualifications. He's been in law enforcement going on 24 years, he said. Bosick has been in law enforcement for about 14 years.
The two have said they have similar philosophies about the Sheriff's Office. Wiggins differentiated himself Sunday by saying he was passionate about being sheriff, apparently a reference to the fact that Bosick is running largely because of encouragement from others.
Wiggins said he wanted to improve community relations at the Sheriff's Office. Although he stressed that he thinks serious crimes should be prosecuted to the fullest extent, he said sometimes deputies could soften their response.
"When it comes to minor offenses, I think we need to do a better job of using officer discretion," Wiggins said. "I think, in many cases, it's appropriate to give people a verbal warning or a written warning."
Bosick said he'd like to do more community outreach at the Sheriff's Office. He said he wanted deputies to have opportunities to meet people in the county and build relationships.
"I think that's going to be one of my biggest goals is to work with South Routt, work with North Routt, work with West Routt and with Steamboat to put our guys out in the community, make them a resource, give them the tools to educate the community on issues you guys deal with on a daily basis," Bosick said.
He also said he wants to find a way to place deputies at substations across the county at certain times, noting that "we've got to be creative" because there are only 15 deputies.
Bosick also noted the importance of educating people about problems such as identity theft.
"We're not educating them on how to protect their finances, how to protect their identities, and I think once I get elected, that will be something I really want to focus on, trying to educate my deputies in how to provide these community education programs," he said.
Wiggins and Bosick also stressed that they'd try to cooperate with the Steamboat Springs Police Department and other agencies.
"There hasn't been a good, unified working relationship between those since I've been here," Wiggins said.
Bosick said he thought either Republican would be able to reverse that.
"I have a very good relationship with the city, I think Garrett does, too, and I think that Steamboat, Routt County is so isolated from the rest of the world that we need to be able to count on each other," he said.
He and Wiggins said they would work to keep the office's finances under control, as well, and Wiggins touted the fact that ACET has maintained a 99 percent conviction rate in cases turned over to prosecutors.
Bosick and Wiggins said they planned to fully support the winner of the primary, whoever it is.
Wall said he was looking forward to the election season.
"I think this campaign is going to be really fun when I find out who my opponent is," Wall said.
That fit the tone of the forum, which was cordial and relaxed. It began with informal mingling, and then, each candidate spoke.
County Coroner Rob Ryg, who will face Democrat Darrel Levingston and independent Kevin Nerney in November, asked for the support of his Republican Party.
Routt County Treasurer Jeanne Whiddon and Routt County Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland are running unopposed for re-election. Whiddon attended the event, asking for support and feedback from the community.
B.J. Vale said she thought Sunday's event went well.
"I think people were informed," she said. "We'll be doing another one prior to the general election, so hopefully we'll have Gary Wall here along with whoever gets the primary vote."