Dannels picked to replace Dever on ballotBy Trisha Maldonado
and Bruce Whetten
Following the unexpected death of longtime Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever there has been some confusion as to who would replace him on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.
That decision was made Thursday, Sept. 20 in Sierra Vista at a special standing-room only meeting of the Cochise County Republican Committee. Fifty-eight of the precinct committeemen each cast a single vote for one candidate all of whom sought their name on the ballot.
Initially current Tombstone Marshall Billy Cloud, Cochise County Chief Deputy Rod Rothrock and Mark Dannels, a former deputy commander with the sheriff’s office were the three candidates. Cloud withdrew his name moments before the meeting throwing his support towards Dannels. In the end Dannels beat out Rothrock 31-27 securing his name on the ballot.
On Sept. 19, the day after Sheriff Dever’s death, news reporters from all over southern Arizona were at the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office in Bisbee for one of the most shocking press conferences this area has ever experienced.
The press conference was held to discuss the future of the Cochise County Sheriff’s Department.
Currently the Cochise County Board of Supervisors are working with the County Attorney and with the Sheriff’s Office to ensure continuity of business operations and an orderly transition. They have appointed Chief Deputy Rod Rothrock as acting Cochise County Sheriff.
“We lost a great man, Rotrock said at the press conference. “The loss of Sheriff Dever will create a tremendous void not only in the lives of his family but in the law enforcement community and for the citizens of Cochise County. … He will go down as one of the finest Sheriff’s we have ever seen.”
“I think that county and the nation will miss his law enforcement expertise,” Board of Supervisor Ann English said. “I personally am going to miss that big infectious smile and the big hug he always rewarded me for just being in his presences.”
“I’m blessed, in all aspects,” Dannels told the Sierra Vista Herald after last Thursday’s vote. “I’m taking over for a Cochise County law enforcement icon and I’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Dannels originally came to the county in 1983. He was an officer with the Bisbee Police Department from 1984-86, when he joined the sheriff’s office.
He serviced as chief of police in Coquille, Ore. from 2008-11. In 2011 he returned to Cochise County and is currently working out of the Benson office.
According to news reports Dannels and Dever had an agreement that Dever would support Dannels in a 2016 run for sheriff.
“(We’ll) continue on with what Larry’s done all the way from the immigration stance he’s taken and supporting our ranchers and our agriculture here in Cochise County to treating people fair and just, and that where we’re going to go,” Dannels told KGUN9.
Sheriff Dever was laid to rest Saturday in a private ceremony in St. David.
A memorial service is planned for Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 5:30 p.m. at Buena High School in Sierra Vista. The service is expected to last about two hours.