Q&A: Mesa County sheriff candidate Mike Harlow
Name: Mike Harlow
Occupation: Self-employed, custom holster maker
Education: High School graduate; police academies in Connecticut, New York and Florida; plus two courses (psychology and sociology) at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Professional work history: Danbury Police Department, Connecticut; NYPD, trains & stations; Belle Glade P.D., Florida, road patrol; Clewiston, Florida, Road Patrol, Detective; Pahokee P.D., Road Patrol, Investigator, K-9 Officer; North Palm Beach PD, Florida; Palm Beach County SO, Airport, Road Patrol, Bodyguard Unit.
Years in Mesa County: Fourteen
1. MCSO has lost nearly $4 million in funding over the past five years, including 27 full-time employee positions. If you had to cut more, what would you eliminate?
I’ll be better able to address that when I see the budget. I believe in running in the black. Lacking the ability to print our own money, we have no choice. I also believe in laying off cops last, lest the goblins take over. If the MCSO budget needs trimming, I’ll look for fat rather than hand out pink slips. A budget crisis and a pink slip is why I didn’t finish a career with the NYPD. It was a sad day.
2. MCSO employees have not seen merit raises or cost of living raises in five years. Many are applying for and taking jobs with other jurisdictions. Providing you don’t have to cut the budget, do you have a strategy for retaining those employees?
Keeping deputies from migrating to higher paying agencies is not impossible. Matching pay is one method. Finding that money is not impossible. I’ve seen it done in other departments. MCSO deputies might decide to stay when they see who they’re working for and what we’re doing. I’ve seen sworn personnel misused as crossing guards, mail men, lackeys for the mayor, etc. If that exists, it will stop. It’s not what they signed up for and it’s demeaning. I know how to train dogs and run a K-9 Unit on the cheap. Dogs are ready back up and require no pay at all. I know where to obtain free dogs. Existing cars can be easily and inexpensively converted to carry dogs and can still transport prisoners. Purchase of expensive SUVs are not necessary. I don’t like unsolved mysteries. Dogs eliminate many of them by finding perpetrators. I have found lots of them. I also worked six riots with my dog. They are priceless.
3. MCSO has a national reputation for use of drones. Do you support the program as it exists? What changes if any would you make?
Drones in use with MCSO are tiny, inexpensive affairs with very limited range. It’s my understanding they are used only as a search & rescue tool. I think this is great if it isn’t a money pit. If it is, it will be canned.
4. In your analysis of MCSO, do you plan on reorganizing the agency? What do you see as excess and what needs to be augmented?
I have no idea at this time. Overtime will be looked at. If I find fat, I’ll trim it. Cuts that diminish the effectiveness of the agency will be avoided of course. I can cut it down to three people and save a ton but that’s not realistic, is it?
5. Under your leadership, will MCSO continue on occasion to partner with federal law enforcement agencies?
I understand we have a good relationship with the DEA. I see no reason why that shouldn’t continue. Dope is awful. Meth is pure poison and seems to be in good supply in the West. I have a lot of experience with crack cocaine and know it turns people into animals. It destroys families. Drugs have touched my own family. Dogs find drugs.