Sheriff Dannels swears in local deputiesBy Trisha Maldonado
Newly elected Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels was in Douglas last week swearing in his local deputies.
The new Sheriff, who is responsible for over 200 employees, that consist of sworn officers, office staff and volunteers, said his first week as sheriff has been crazy fun. He is the 26th sheriff of Cochise County.
“There is a lot of energy in the department and excitement as we move forward,” Dannels said. “The last four months has been very emotional in this department.”
Dannels ran for sheriff following the sudden death of Sheriff Larry Dever on September 19, 2012.
“I worked with Larry Dever my whole career,” he said. “What happened was tragic. He paid the ultimate price for his actions. But what we lost was an iconic lawman here in Cochise County. What he had accomplished in his career I believe overweighs that one night.”
Dever had a blood alcohol content of 0.291 percent at the time of his accident.
“He made a mistake that changed Cochise County forever it changed his family forever,” he added. “The Dever family is part of the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office family and they will always be.”
During the week Dannels traveled around Cochise County doing employee orientation and sharing his vision with his new staff.
In the past only sworn officers were sworn in at the beginning of the year. Under Dannels everyone who works for CCSO is being sworn in.
“We serve under the same mission, is to serve the people of Cochise County,” Dannels said.
Dannels also has had a change of staff. Thad Smith was promoted to chief deputy when Rod Rothrock retired in December.
“Thad Smith was chosen as my chief deputy based on his operationally sound history. If I was ever a victim of a crime he is the person I would want to investigate it,” Dannels said. “He has worked almost every aspect of the sheriff’s office and has left a legacy where he has worked. I have all the confidence that his ability to help me operate, that’s what his job is to operate and solidify the culture in the sheriff’s department to go forward. He has been with the sheriff’s department for 20 years.”
He also has two new commanders, Forest Hauser commander of enforcement and Mark Genz commander of support. Detention Commander Kenny Bradshaw will continue in his position.
Sheriff Dannels believes that quality customer service is the common objective in the sheriff’s office to serve the people in a professional matter.
He said, people expect that, they deserve that and that is what we are going to give them, we treat everyone fair and justly.
Dannels will be working with local law enforcement in building a solid long lasting partnership. He’ll be starting this partnership with quarterly meetings with local law enforcement representatives to discuss issues and how to improve that safety of the people in Cochise County.
“Partnerships are what we are going to grow on,” Sheriff Dannels said.
The sheriff is putting a border team together and a ranch patrol, they will partner up with Border Patrol, Customs and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Two deputies will be assigned to ranch patrol and they will serve as the eyes and ears of the ranchers.
The Border team will be assigned to the 83 miles of the border in Cochise County. They will work in partnership with border patrol.
“I want our border team working with the people living and working on the border,” he said.
When asked how he felt about the border issues he replied, “I don’t see it getting any better unless we in law enforcement and government partner up as a unified front against the problem. We all have the same mission when it comes to our border problems. But the problem is all have the same ideas and need to bring them together. That is my goal with the quarterly law enforcement meetings. It’s not about you it’s not about me it’s about the people who live here in the Cochise County and we need to come up with some kind of methodology that works.”
Dannels is also a coach for the Buena High School wrestling team. He has been coaching for almost 18 years.
When it comes to time management Dannels should teach a class on it. On top of being the Buena wrestling coach he serves in six service groups. He teaches at Buena Baptist University, is on the board of directors for the Sierra Vista Boys and Girls Club, he’s president elect for the Kiwanis, board of director for Just Kids, on the board for CASA and a member of the Elks.
“That is part of my community balance, we are law enforcement officers we work for our citizens and our communities to make them better,” Dannels said. “We should be part of our communities.”
“The number one priority in the sheriff’s office is making sure the needs of the people are met,” he added.