Hilkey: King has skill set to be sheriff
State Sen. Steve King is best situated to run the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, in part because of a pedigree beyond just “single-focus activism,” said Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey in a recent interview.
“He’s got 30 years of law enforcement experience and cares a lot about the people in this community,” Hilkey said Thursday after a press conference, when he announced plans to vacate the office June 15 to become director of the Colorado Department of Public Safety.
“He understands the job is much more than single-focus activism, which is what I’ve seen a lot of lately,” the nearly three-term Republican sheriff said.
“It’s sort of fashionable these days to talk about being frustrated with big government. But I’ve never, ever, thought that we should demonize any level of government that is in it for the right reasons, particularly at the federal level.”
He added, “Some of the best progress we’ve made with our community drug problems have been made in partnership with the DEA.”
Hilkey spoke in support of King on March 29 at the Mesa County Republican assembly, when self-described Constitutional sheriff candidate John Pennington earned top line on the upcoming primary ballot, 132 votes compared to 122 votes.
The primary election is June 24.
Hilkey, in announcing his pending departure, recommended in a letter to county commissioners that they appoint Undersheriff Rebecca Spiess top fullfil his term expiring January 2015.
Asked about whether he pondered recommending King for the interim period, Hilkey said, “I think that might have been a possibility had he been the only one in the race. At this point, that’s not the case. It makes sense in the interest of fairness, and the party, there’s this stable leadership that allows the elective process to occur.”
King started in law enforcement in 1980 as a patrolman and later detective with the Grand Junction Police Department, before joining the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office and agency’s complex crimes unit.
He served two terms in the Colorado House before being elected to the state Senate in 2010.