Lt. Kim Pound said that when he is elected Sheriff of Gila County, it won't be beneath him crawl out of bed at 2 a.m. to assist his deputies.
"I was up in Strawberry and heard that it is sometimes a 45 minute response time for deputies," Pound said. "If I am in bed in Payson and we don't have a deputy, this sheriff is going to get out of bed and get into a car and drive up there."
Pound, a Republican and resident of Payson, is running against Democratic Sheriff John Armer and Republican Richard Shaw.
Pound has had a lengthy career with the Salt River Police Department where he is currently the commander of the Professional Standards Committee -- a fancy name for internal affairs, Pound said.
"We investigate citizen complaints and officer misconduct," Pound said. "It has given me a lot of insight.
"In our department, we have three lieutenants, or commanders," Pound said. "I have been the commander over field operations, which is patrol, canine and traffic and commander over criminal investigations, which entails everything from homicide to property crimes. So, now I have commanded all three divisions."
The Salt River Indian Reservation is 90 square miles and encompasses a portion of Scottsdale which includes Scottsdale Community College, the casino and the Pavilions.
"We are the only tribal police department in the United States that is POST certified and investigate all crimes within our jurisdictional boundary," Pound said. "We file our cases directly to the U.S. Attorney's Office."
POST, the Peace Officers Standards Training, means that an officer may enforce state law anywhere in Arizona as opposed to federal certification that allows them to only enforce law on the reservation.
Pound said when he becomes Sheriff, he wants to see the Tonto Apache officers get POST certified as well.
Pound and his wife, Stacia, wanted to stay in Payson even though it meant a long commute.
"We love Payson and our family lives here," Pound said. "We have a special needs child and the attention and education she receives here is great -- something she would not receive in a larger place."
Setting the standard
Some of Pound's goals as Sheriff are to ensure a high standard of conduct within the department, get more money for his deputies and employees, and develop a good rapport with other law enforcement agencies.
"A sheriff's office should be as professional and well-organized as police departments," Pound said.
"Sheriff Armer is an honorable man who has been in law enforcement all his life -- we just have different plans for where we want to take the sheriff's office," he said.
"The biggest difference we have right now is that in order to fix problems and provide good service, the people within the office need to know what their job responsibilities are. I want to take the policies and procedures manual and rewrite it up to Commission on Law Enforcement Accreditation Standards, which is the national standard.
"It is a tough standard to meet and I am not saying we can do it in the first four years, but I plan on being sheriff for more than one term," Pound said. "When everyone understands what their job is, they can provide better service. They are not up to my standards -- I am going to expect a lot of my people, but I am also going to give them a lot."
Where the taxes go
Pound said he intends to improve compensation for deputies and correctional officers.
"People don't realize that in order to provide good service to a community, deputies need to be vested. They need their pay and benefits raised," Pound said. "We don't want to be a training ground for other agencies. We don't want to lose seasoned officers because they are going someplace else to get more money."
Pound said increasing the volunteer base will also save money that can be re-channeled into salary increases.
Pound said he will create a five-year plan so that the public will know what he is doing and where their tax dollars are being spent.
"You are going to know where I am each year of my plan and I will provide the public with an annual report so you are going to know where your tax dollars are going," Pound said.
Public relations and community policing
A Citizens Advisory Board is also part of Pound's plan as sheriff.
"People often don't realize the service isn't there until they are victims of crime," he said. "I want to be pro-active instead of reactive.
"The Citizen's Advisory Board will be made up of business people, teachers, lawyers and citizens in the community-- a diverse board from different areas of the county," Pound said. "We are going to meet quarterly and they will tell me what services are needed in their area -- discuss how we will better serve the public."
Pound said he is tough on crime, but that people also need to be treated with respect and dignity.
"I have a community policing philosophy and officers need to have people skills," he said. "I am tough, but people also get treated with respect -- especially on minor violations. I will be strict, but keep in mind that we are also problem solvers."
Agency cooperation -- no egos allowed
Pound has been a vocal proponent of restructuring the Gila County Narcotics Task Force.
The task force is currently comprised of officers from the Department of Public Safety and the sheriff's office. The Payson Police Department withdrew from the task force in 2002, after an impending search warrant was compromised.
"This narcotics task force -- it is not a task force right now," Pound said. "How can you call it a task force? Let's tear that thing back down and get all the agencies involved and the sheriff doesn't have to be running it. Everybody needs to be involved."
Cooperation and good relations with all the county's law enforcement agencies is a priority, Pound said.
"I want to work with all the chiefs of police," Pound said. "I don't want to be the chief law enforcement agent in the county -- I want to be the chief law enforcement coordinator. Let's work together and pool our resources to be problem solvers. Let's check our egos at the door."
Pound promises to be accessible to residents on the north and south side of the county.
"As the sheriff, I don't want to plant myself in Globe and I don't want to plant myself in Payson," Pound said. "I want people to know who their sheriff is. I want people to have access to me.
"I don't have a retirement some place else," Pound said. "I need to go to work and prove myself everyday so I will be re-elected. I will be a very effective and efficient sheriff. Citizens want the best person for the job -- that's me."