KINGMAN - Sheriff Jim McCabe was not happy when his old friend Rodney Head narrowly lost a bid to become Bullhead City's mayor last fall.
But he was not as upset as he might have been, since he wanted Head to become his chief deputy once Greg Smith retires at the end of the month.
The Mohave County Board of Supervisors last week approved Head's annual salary - $112,000 - putting a bow on what will be a package deal for voters to consider when McCabe runs for a full term in 2016.
Head has worked for the Mohave County Sheriff's Office in the past, but he spent the bulk of his lengthy career with the Bullhead City Police Department, including the last dozen as its chief.
"I've known Rodney for decades," said McCabe on Thursday. "He worked for the sheriff's office before he went to Bullhead City, where we worked together for many years since both of our agencies belong to MAGNET (the Mohave Area General Narcotics Enforcement Team) and the law enforcement academy in Lake Havasu City."
McCabe said he knows how Head works and he knows he is "well respected" inside and outside of the law enforcement community.
"He's very easygoing," said McCabe. "I started talking to him about the job last year when he was running for mayor of Bullhead City. He lost by 2 percent of the vote, which was bad for him but good for us," said McCabe with a chuckle. "I always thought he would be the perfect guy to be chief deputy after Greg retired."
The supervisors also got a good deal out of Head's selection since his salary is about $18,000 a year less than what Smith earns.
McCabe said there were other candidates, and while he can't formally announce he intends to run for office until next January, McCabe intimated that he considered current sheriff's deputies and detectives, but the deputy chief is an appointed position, meaning Head would be out of a job along with McCabe if the sheriff failed to get elected.
"A lot of guys don't want to take that chance," said McCabe.
Head begins work on July 1.