County sheriff seeks a third term

Tom Sheahan announced Tuesday he is seeking a third term as Mohave County sheriff.

In 1996, Sheahan defeated three opponents in the Republican primary and in the general election defeated Bill Troup, a retired state Department of Public Safety officer who has since died.

In 2000, Sheahan easily defeated retired sheriff's Lt.

Dan Bishop in the primary and ran unopposed in the general election.

Sheahan, 54, is a veteran of 32 years in law enforcement.

He moved to Mohave County with his wife, Jo, in 1981 and began his stint with the Mohave County Sheriff's Office.

He rose through the ranks as a deputy, detective, corporal, sergeant, lieutenant and captain and was appointed chief deputy sheriff in 1990.

Sheahan filed election papers with the Mohave County Recorder's Office on Friday.

"I'm very proud of the people who work for Mohave County Sheriff's Office," he said.

He called his wife of 31 years "the backbone of my law enforcement career."

Sheahan noted a number of his accomplishments during his current term, including creation of a street crime task force and upgrading the crime lab, 9-1-1 dispatch services, and vehicles, including the purchase of two four-wheel drive units.

Additionally, victims' rights have been a "real priority over the last couple years," he said.

"We need to pay more attention to crime victims." He noted that the Arizona attorney general has sent a letter statewide highlighting Mohave County for having one of two model crime-victim policies in the state.

Calls for service typically increase 10 percent a year, and 2003 was no different, he said.

Sheahan said he would like to restart the Shock program, a 90-day treatment program for juveniles that was discontinued more than a year ago because staffing problems.

As of last year, the Mohave County Jail was no longer under control of a federal mandate imposed in 1986 that directed how the jail should be run, he said.

While noting there are always problems with the jail, Sheahan said that not allowing coffee, cigarettes, weight lifting or adult magazines was the policy of the Mohave County Jail long before it became popular in Maricopa County.

Issues Sheahan said he expects to confront during his next term include building another sheriff's substation in Lake Havasu City.

The current substation was originally a real estate office and only has 20 bunk spaces, but 40 or 50 are needed, he said.

Sheahan said he expects a sheriff's building to be completed in Colorado City sometime this summer.

Additionally, he said, the county's animal control facility needs to be replaced, as does the main jail.

It was built in 1986 but was "pared down" and took three proposals to get the public's approval, said Sheahan.

"They (county supervisors and sheriff) took what they could get," he said.

The sheriff's office employs 235 full-time people, but the efforts of volunteers are not lost on the sheriff.

There are 150-plus persons who volunteer with the sheriff's search and rescue team and 70-plus who volunteer as part of the sheriff's boating safety team.

The sheriff's office has been successful in obtaining $3 million in grants from a variety of sources, he said.

"I'm proud of the staff for bringing in a lot of grants.

If we don't get them, someone else is going to."

Grants have been received for such things as overtime hours, search and rescue, property crimes investigation, the victims' witness program and drug trafficking enforcement.

Some $1.3 million of grant funding was used for the sheriff's boat patrol, with $578,000 used to purchase new boats.

The boats are primarily used on Lake Havasu, which Sheahan said is the busiest waterway in the state.

Sheahan began his law enforcement career with the Du Page County, Ill., Sheriff's Office in 1971.

He graduated from Northwestern University School of Police and Command in Evanston, Ill., and the FBI National Academy at Quantico, Va.