Posted 5:06 PM 9/20/2012 : Decision 2012: Pima County Sheriff Candidate Profiles
TUCSON - We kick off our candidate profile series with the election for Pima County Sheriff - three men are heading into the race: longtime Democratic incumbent Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, Republican challenger Mark Napier, and Green Party candidate Dave Croteau. Learn more about them below:
Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik is making another run to keep his badge. After leading the department for 32 years, the 76-year-old Sheriff was considering retirement, but now he says he's not ready to step aside. Sheriff Dupnik says under his leadership, the department has been squeaky clean.
"The fact that we've never had a serious scandal in this organization since I've been here, nor have I ever had one personally in my 54 years, probably says something," Sheriff Dupnik said.
Fifty-year-old Republican challenger Mark Napier says it's time for a change. Napier served 28 years in law enforcement before retiring as a Captain with the Tucson Police Department.
"I think we need a more visible, engaged, educated, professional sheriff, in Pima County," Napier said.
Sixty-year-old Dave Croteau is the Green Party Candidate. The self-employed craftsman ran for sheriff in 2000 and 2007.
Croteau says Sheriff Dupnik has done a great job in his 32 years leading the department, but Croteau disagrees with the Sheriff when it comes to the drug war.
"My opposition to his policy has to do with his continued support of the war on drugs, particularly the war on marijuana," Croteau said.
The sheriff's office isn't supposed to be political, but Dupnik's political views made headlines after the January 8 shooting when he seemed to blame conservative commentators for inciting violence. Mental illness is now believed to have played a larger role in the Tucson Tragedy than political rhetoric. And the sheriff says if he's re-elected he'll fight for the right to force the mentally ill who pose a danger into treatment. "At some point we have to consider giving up a little bit of our civil rights in the interest of public safety, under controlled circumstances," the Sheriff said.
That's a political position that's sure to generate debate among his two opponents this race heads into the home stretch.
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