James Whitehead, candidate for Los Alamos County Sheriff awaits his turn to speak at a recent candidates’ forum. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Candidate for the Los Alamos County Sheriff James Whitehead told attendees at the Sept. 24 Veterans of Foreign Wars candidates’ forum that his platform has not changed.
“It is primarily a pro-sheriff platform. I believe the office should be properly funded and staffed. I believe that the misguided attempts to dismantle and defund the office by the County Council need to stop. The issues that are before this community were not settled through the County Council and the engagement with the electorate. Now it’s out of our hands and in the hands of the judiciary and when that appeals process is complete I believe we need a sheriff who is not only willing but capable of doing the job.”
Whitehead said as far as he knows he is not the only candidate for sheriff that is a veteran but he is the only sheriff candidate he knows that is also a veteran of a combat arms with almost seven years in the infantry. He said he achieved the rank of E-5 sergeant, was a driver, a gunner and a commander on a Bradley fighting unit and spent time in Fort Hood, Texas, Fort Benning, Georgia, Fort Stewart, Georgia, and in Camp Hovey, South Korea.
“I believe we have a culture of silence here in Los Alamos County. I attempted to engage those that work in the fields of domestic violence treatment or drug and other substance abuse treatment and found that many people may not actually seek their services within the County. The other thing I learned is that within Los Alamos County we have an unusually high occurrence of male domestic violence victims,” Whitehead said.
He said he believes “the misreporting or the lack of accurate reporting within crime statistics” is an issue.
“I don’t know what the mechanism is that’s in place that has created either a real or perceived need to misrepresent the numbers – maybe misrepresentation is a harsh statement -but the need to represent the numbers at the state level different to the numbers reported to the County Council when it comes to violent and property crimes reported by the Los Alamos Police Department in their annual crime reports,” Whitehead said.
“I believe that as sheriff, I am the one that is capable of performing the duties of sheriff. I believe that the primary function of the office of sheriff is to execute any civil process, to enforce the laws of the state and the ordinances of the County, and to follow the orders of the courts of competent jurisdiction as well as to execute those orders in a proper and timely manner under the law of the state of New Mexico,” he concluded.