Sheahan cites accomplishments but said job unfinished

Editor's Note: The Kingman Daily Miner will print a series of stories on opposed candidates for county and statewide office prior to the Sept.

12 primary.

The Miner today and Sunday is running stories on the two Republican candidates for Mohave County sheriff: incumbent Tom Sheahan of Kingman and challenger Dan Bishop of Chloride.

The top vote-getter automatically will be elected Sept.

12 because no Democrats are seeking the office.

The job pays $75,000 a year.

Sheahan is profiled below.

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Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan, who was elected in 1996, said he has accomplished a lot during his term but said his work is unfinished.

"The programs that I have put into effect in the last 3 1/2 years have worked," Sheahan said.

"I have met my goals to reduce crime."

Sheahan, 51, of Kingman said he wants to serve an additional four-year term to maintain stability in the MCSO leadership, and continue to reduce crime.

As sheriff, Sheahan said his major accomplishments have been obtaining $375,000 in grants to pay for three school resource officers, expanding the Shock probation program to juvenile probationers and launching SCAT, a volunteer program that stands for Sheriff's Citizens Action Teams.

The school program, started last year, helps to provide a safe learning environment for the children, Sheahan said.

Resource offers are involved in anti-drug programs and meet with students in their classes.

Another youth program, Shock, is a three-month "boot camp" for minor offenders ages 14 to 17, according to Sheahan.

Sheahan said he expanded Shock to male juveniles in 1997 and girls this year with the intent of turning around youths who committed nonviolent offenses.

His predecessor, the late Joe Cook, started a Shock program for adults in 1994, when Sheahan was his chief deputy.

About 100 juveniles have gone through the boot camp, which boasts a success rate of 85 percent, Sheahan said.

Sheahan said SCAT, launched in 1997, involves training county residents to assist deputies at accident scenes with traffic control and with transporting prisoners.

Team members also patrol neighborhoods and radio deputies about suspicious activities.

A total of 24 people serve with SCAT countywide, Sheahan said.

Sheahan said he would like to expand volunteer programs if re-elected.

Additional volunteers would assist SCAT and take part in crime prevention by working with businesses and neighborhood groups.

"The more we can get the message out, the less problems we will have," Sheahan said.

A 29-year veteran of law enforcement who joined MCSO in 1981, Sheahan was elected sheriff after prevailing over three Republicans in the 1996 primary and defeating Democrat Bill Troup in the general election.

He oversees a department with an annual budget exceeding $13 million, 240 full-time employees and more than 200 volunteers.

MCSO has 95 sworn officers who patrol approximately 13,500 square miles, Sheahan said.

Sheahan said he perceives the sheriff as being the county's chief law enforcement officer.

Requirements set by statute include arresting offenders, operating the jail, serving civil papers, and search and rescue.

"The role is one of tremendous responsibilities, and certainly needs an individual that is trained, educated and motivated to oversee the sheriff's operations," Sheahan said.

He said MCSO has placed a high priority on rural areas by scheduling and rotating deputies there and opening substations in communities such as Golden Valley, Dolan Springs and Butler.

Substations offer a place for deputies to take reports and meet privately with citizens away from their homes, Sheahan said.

Sheahan said he does not know what percentage of crimes are committed in rural areas, adding he characterizes the entire county as rural.

However, he said crime has dropped tremendously in communities such as Chloride and Golden Valley, thanks to the additional patrols.

For instance, burglaries in Chloride/Golden Valley dropped from 158 in 1996 in 79 in 1999.

Minor acts such as thefts probably amount to the most common crime, Sheahan said.

MCSO deals with those crimes by educating the public and providing teamwork between the agency and the citizens MCSO serves, Sheahan said.

"It does work, and we have reduced crime significantly," Sheahan said.