Just as election campaigns are kicking off, Gila County’s three-term sheriff has announced he will not run again for office.
John Armer told the Roundup Jan. 31 he planned to retire at the end of his term, ending a 12-year run as Gila County’s sheriff.
A day earlier, former county deputy sheriff Darrell Stubbs announced he would run for county sheriff.
Several other people are expected to run. Election packets are available now for candidates to register for the Aug. 28 primary. The general election is Nov. 6. Other offices up for election include a Gila County supervisor seat, county attorney, assessor, superintendent and a superior court judge.
Armer said after 43 years in law enforcement, he is ready to retire and spend time with family.
“For all that time, my wife, Claudia Sue, and children Heather and Ben, while building their own lives and careers, have stood by and supported me through all those years, some of which have been very challenging times,” he said in a release. “As I now approach the end of my third term as Gila County sheriff, it is time to retire and devote more of my time to family, friends and other pursuits.”
Armer said he would miss working with the county’s 56 deputies and 65 detention officers.
“I am proud of the people we have working for the sheriff’s office,” he said. “They are not always held in the highest of regard until they are needed.”
Armer said dedicated deputies cover 4,700 square miles of the county, working to keep residents safe.
“All of the employees — whether detention, classified or certified as well as the many volunteers — are some of the best I have ever worked with and for their efforts I will be forever grateful.”
Armer said it is a testament to the staff that the sheriff’s office has not been the subject of lawsuits or wide scale public criticism during his tenure.
It “is not an accident, but the result of their professionalism.”
Before becoming Gila County’s sheriff, Armer, a county native, worked as chief of police in Globe and before that, worked 21 years with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. Armer said he plans to remain a Gila County resident.
Armer ran and lost against Joe Arpaio in the 1992 Maricopa County sheriff race. Arpaio still holds that position today.
Nearly four years ago, Armer beat out Stubbs for Gila County sheriff.
Stubbs is running again and says he is committed to building working relationships with municipalities, tribal governments and surrounding counties.
“We have to work together to maximize our resources to develop budget-conscious solutions without compromising the quality of services we provide,” Stubbs said. “To effectively lead the Gila County Sheriff’s Office requires a (person with a) servant’s heart, a strong work ethic, a good mind for business and a firm sense of justice and fairness, and I believe I am that person.”
Stubbs, a 25-year law enforcement veteran, has worked as a patrol officer in Miami, a school resource officer and a member of the Gila County Narcotics Task Force.
“It’s time we take back our county from this culture of crime that has moved into our communities,” he said.
Armer said it is vital voters carefully consider his successor.
“Citizens’ selection of those who will represent them in their government is one of the most important responsibilities that the populace has in this great democracy.”