Boulder County sheriff candidates vie for support at Latino community forum
As the two candidates vying for the position of new Boulder County Sheriff were set to unveil their plans for policing across the county, at a community forum hosted by the Latin American Chamber of Commerce, questions about gun control and the recent school shootings were asked.
The online forum was organized to allow Louisville Police Chief David Hayes and Boulder County Sheriff’s Deputy Curtis Johnson to speak directly to residents about issues important to business owners in Latinx and the community.
“Yet another tragedy in the great state of Texas. One of many in my career and most of our lives,” Hayes said. not sure it’s coming from Washington.”
He said a number of towns in Boulder County, as well as the Boulder County Commissioners, are considering gun control measures and he supports them.
“I also understand that we have a Second Amendment… we have to be careful with that. Back when it was created, we were talking about muskets… now we’re talking about automatic weapons,” Hayes said.
Johnson said he thinks the best gun control laws come from the federal level of government and he agreed they haven’t acted.
“Even our state lawmakers are struggling to pass bills that effectively control guns in our community. I am all for common sense gun control measures,” he said. he said, adding that even though more than 20 years have passed since the Columbine shootings, the United States has still not done enough to keep gun violence out of our communities, specifically, mass shootings.
“We experienced it locally just over a year ago at our King Soopers store in Table Mesa and it affected us directly. It’s a tough problem, especially here in Colorado,” Johnson said.
Berenice Garcia Tellez, president of the Latino Chamber of Commerce and who moderated the forum, said one of the most important things the two candidates can do is learn more about Latino culture. She asked both candidates about their strategy for engaging with Latinos and how they plan to branch out to diversify their workforce.
Johnson’s solution is to find the right people to work through recruitment. He said he believed people wanted to work with people who looked like them and that he was committed to bringing more Latinos into law enforcement. He would like to set aside at least two employees to work full-time, reaching out to traditionally underserved communities.
“The more we can expand the reach of people in our organization, that people feel comfortable and have like-minded peers, the better we can do. And the best recruiting we can do,” he said.
Hayes disagreed that recruiting should only be handled by a few people.
“I think that’s all our work. I think it’s from the sheriff’s job. We need to make sure our people know what we are looking for, who we are looking for, what qualities we are looking for.
Hayes also said he wants to bring officers back to the Boulder Valley School District, admitting there have been missteps by officers in the past, but that’s where they can come in. contact with young people.
When asked why there was a large Latin American population on average, Johnson said the jail was one of the sheriff’s office’s biggest problems.
“The first thing we need to do is address the inherent biases that exist in the criminal justice system. As head of the sheriff’s office, that starts with education and training,” Johnson said.
Hayes said he agreed jail was a big concern and said they weren’t arresting people unnecessarily.
“I think prison is really designed to make sure that #1, the community is safe, the victim is safe, and the person is going to appear in court,” Hayes said.