Nov 7, 2012 7:17 PM by Lorraine Rivera
COCHISE COUNTY - Residents of Cochise County elected a new sheriff Tuesday. Mark Dannels will replace the late Larry Dever. Dever, the sheriff for 16 years, was killed earlier this fall in a drunk driving accident.
Dannels was the only candidate on the ballot, he beat write-in candidate and current acting Sheriff Rod Rothrock.
Dannels said he wants to preserve the legacy of Cochise County, "I plan on putting some actions forward to show the folks that I do care about Cochise County and those that choose to ignore our laws we're going to go after them," he said.
Dannels joined the Sheriff's Department in 1986 and said he learned a lot from Dever.
"I am who I am, who is who he was. His legacy I will safeguard for him and I will begin to build a legacy for Mark Dannels," he said.
The border is one of Dannels' top priorities, he wants to create a border team and a ranch patrol, Dannels talked about the murder of Cochise County rancher Rob Krentz.
"It's something that needs to be looked at. This was border violence and it sent a very negative message, it was a horrific crime and I think it needs attention," Dannels said.
Cochise County resident Matt Creegan agrees.
"The border is a very big thing here because people in the rest of the country don't quite understand the problems that we have here," Creegan said.
Creegan is the chair of the Cochise County Republican Party, he described scrambling to get a name on the ballot after Dever's sudden death.
"Trying to figure out what we had to do. Everyone admitted that this was rather difficult because it had never happened before."
Dannels campaigned for 46 days, though hard work he says now the real work begins.
"The biggest thing to do is earning the trust and respect of our citizens as their sheriff. I've got big shoes to fill."
Dannels will take office in January.