For more than 20 years Darrell Stubbs worked every corner of Gila County with the sheriff's department, from the jails, to the streets to the lakes. Now he wants to take that experience and apply it as the next sheriff of Gila County.
Stubbs is running against Democratic incumbent John Armer in the Sept. 2 primary.
Stubbs retired from the sheriff's department in May and has been campaigning for the last two months.
His main priority as sheriff is to give back to the people and community.
"Better service is the name of the game," he said. "I know that people are not getting service right now."
When people call for service from the sheriff's department they often don't see a deputy for two hours or sometimes not at all, he said. "When they call they are being told there is no one to send out," Stubbs said.
Residents are getting short-changed and they deserve better service. The department has been suffering from low staff levels and only recently the levels have been brought up.
"They say it is going to be a full staff, but I don't see why it took so long to get there, now in an election year it is full," he said.
Changing how officers are assigned to areas and getting them out of the offices and onto the streets are changes Stubbs would like to make.
"With the gas crunch, it is not possible to patrol 24 hours a day, but instead of sitting around in the office, officers should be out on the streets," he said.
Working the streets is a good way to get information from the people of the community.
"We need to do old-time law enforcement," he said.
Stubbs says he plans to spend four days in the office and the fifth day on patrol in the county. "If I don't stay in touch, how can I make decisions?" he said. "I want to be more accessible to the people."
Drug use, specifically methamphetamine is a major problem in the county, Stubbs said. Along with crimes against people and property these issues need to be worked on and Stubbs said currently officers are not on the streets enough for the problems to be solved.
Larger towns like Globe and Payson receive better coverage than outer areas, which don't receive the coverage they need. Stubbs would rearrange the department, and if the budget allowed, hire more staff.
Stubbs disputes recent statistics that state the crime rate is down. "The crime rate is not down," he said. "People are not reporting things and people are not being caught, the crime rate is up, not down."
On the issue of illegal immigrants Stubbs said if they are breaking the law then they are going to be picked up and deported, but the department does not have the budget to go out looking for them.
"I am not going to spend budget on it because we need to protect the people first so they feel safe in their own back yard," Stubbs said.
Stubbs has lived in Arizona for 46 years and spends his time between two homes in Globe and Tonto Basin.
He had the opportunity to leave the county and work in the Valley but stayed to raise his four children.
"I am dedicated to the people here in Gila County," he said.
While working with the Gila County Sheriff's Office, Stubbs had the opportunity to work in the jails, where he helped in the reopening of the Payson jail. He was also an officer at the Florence State Prison in cellblock four. He was a deputy in the Hayden-Winkelman area and for 10 years was a watercraft officer and rescue diver on Roosevelt Lake.
Stubbs is a certified instructor of law enforcement classes including boating safety.
Stubbs said he helped start the Fishing With an Attitude program. The program takes some 200 eighth-grade kids to an overnight camp at Roosevelt Lake.
Also with kids, Stubbs worked as a Drug Abuse Resistance Education and Gang Resistance Education And Training instructor.
Ultimately, Stubbs said he wants people to have pride in their sheriff's department and know they can depend on it when they need help.