Meet the candidates running for Sandoval County sheriff

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SANDOVAL COUNTY, N.M. – There’s less than a week to go until Election Day. This Thursday is the deadline to request an absentee ballot and early voting ends Saturday. 

The Sandoval County Sheriff title is also on the line and both candidates have decades of experience in law enforcement.

KOB 4 talked to the candidates about their backgrounds, what they believe are the greatest needs in this community, and why they think they’re the best fit for this position.

Republican candidate Darrell “Keith” Elder started his career in law enforcement 38 years ago with state police.

“I’ve served as a deputy and investigator and Field Services commander, civil commander,” said Elder about his serve in Sandoval County. 

Meanwhile, Democratic candidate Jesse James Casaus has been in law enforcement for nearly 22 years and is the current Sandoval County’s sheriff. He says he’s accomplished a lot during his term.

“I implemented our narcotics unit, which is first in Sandoval County history,” said Casaus. 

If reelected, he says he will continue to focus on the drug trade and swearing in more deputies.

“I plan to continue to increase the manpower and continue to retain deputies, which I’m very proud of. We’re only about three positions down, as compared to the surrounding agencies who pay a lot more and offer bonuses,” said Casaus. 

Elder says if he becomes sheriff, he plans to increase patrols in more rural areas of Sandoval County.

“I’ve been out to the edges of the county and talk to people, and they say that it’s rare that they see a sheriff’s vehicle drive by, and that’s one of the things that I want to change,” he said. 

We asked both candidates about their thoughts on body cameras.

“Initially, I was opposed to body cams. I’ve since changed my outlook on that, because I’ve seen the value of the body camera,” said Elder. “They can be used as a training tool, but they can also help clear an incident or force incident.”

A belief shared by Casaus who says the sheriff’s office is state compliant and recently spent close to a million dollars on the same body-worn cams that BCSO uses.

But who is best fit for the job for these next four years?

“I really feel like that I can be the one that makes the difference in keeping this county safe,” Elder said. 

“I humbly ask citizens of Sandoval County: Let me be their Sheriff for four more year so I can see everything through that I’ve already implemented,” said Casaus. 

As of Wednesday morning, more than 13,000 registered Democrats have early voted in Sandoval County, and more than 9,000 Republicans.

Click here for more information on early voting deadlines, registration and locations.