Deputy to run unaffiliated for county sheriff
A Fruita resident and Mesa County Sheriff’s Office deputy with 15 years of law enforcement experience said Wednesday he’s seeking Mesa County’s top cop job.
Patrick Arotin, 46, will run unaffiliated in an attempt to petition onto Mesa County’s general election ballot in November in the race for sheriff, joining a field of four other candidates to replace term-limited Sheriff Stan Hilkey.
A Pennsylvania native who worked six years for a police agency in Frederick, Md., before moving to Mesa County in 2005, Arotin has spent nearly nine years in Mesa County with the sheriff’s SWAT unit, traffic enforcement team, aside from various instructor and training roles. He’s also a Navy veteran.
“Recent local political activity has shown clearly the people of Mesa County are ready to be served by effective, qualified and capable leadership in critical positions ... leadership that owes its allegiance to the voters rather than to a party or process,” Arotin said.
A registered Democrat who switched affiliation to Republican, Arotin said he dropped party affiliation several years ago.
“Both parties seem more interested in getting their people elected while the beliefs of the people kind of go to the side,” he said in an interview.
Impacting everything from retention of employees to periodic overcrowding at the Mesa County Jail, Arotin said slashed budgets over recent years at the Sheriff’s Office will be the next sheriff’s biggest challenge.
“We have folks migrating to other agencies because of better salaries and benefits,” he said.
A Sheriff Arotin administration in Mesa County would include cooperation with federal law enforcement agencies, he said.
“The sheriff needs to make sure the citizens of Mesa County, the people he’s elected and sworn to protect, are taken care of and that includes their individual rights,” he said. “I don’t have an issue working with federal agencies as long as we can come to an agreement on what they’re doing, when they’re doing it and they notify me they’re coming if I’m sheriff.”
He added, “It needs to be a working cooperation.”
Arotin and his wife, Julie, have been married 25 years and have two children.
Unaffiliated candidate petitions must be returned by July 10.
A self-described “Constitutional sheriff” candidate, John Pennington, earned top billing for the June 24 Republican primary ballot after outpolling state Sen. Steve King on March 29 at the Mesa County Republican Assembly.
Grand Junction resident Mike Harlow is also running for sheriff as an unaffiliated write-in candidate. Harlow, along with Grand Junction resident Rocky Hutson, have also registered candidate committees with the Colorado Secretary of State. Hutson confirmed Wednesday his intent to petition onto the general election ballot.