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Early voters choose Wilmot as next sheriff
Leon N. Wilmot could be the next sheriff in Yuma County, according to early unofficial election results.
Wilmot, a Republican endorsed by Democratic Sheriff Ralph Ogden, led with nearly 58 percent of the votes Tuesday evening.
Although the early vote tally showed a strong lead for Wilmot, he remained guardedly optimistic that the trend would continue as election officials counted the ballots.
“It's been a long, long journey. A lot of people have been asking me the first thing I would do if I won, but it's too early.”
He added that he would be staying up all night, keeping an eye on the numbers. “I'll be keeping a positive attitude and hope it continues this way,” Wilmot said Tuesday evening.
Wilmot's main opponent, Democrat Rick Sandoval, garnered 38 percent of the early votes, while Danny Bolser, an independent candidate who dropped out of the race, received 4 percent of the early votes.
Sandoval did not return a telephone message for comment Tuesday evening.
Wilmot expressed appreciation to his supporters.
“What's been humbling is the amount of support I've received from the community and employees who work at the sheriff's office. It's a good feeling.
“I want to thank everybody who helped along my campaign and provided a positive influence to help us get to where we are.”
Until his retirement to run for the office, Wilmot, 49, was a longtime employee of the Yuma County Sheriff's Office. He had 27 years of law enforcement experience with the agency, including more than seven years as the chief deputy.
During the campaign, Wilmot said his “unique experience” would help him propel the sheriff's office to the “next level of service that our citizens expect from a professional organization.”
Wilmot said he believes the biggest challenge currently facing the county is the poor economy, which has resulted in increased burglaries, thefts and domestic violence.
He noted that if elected, he would be proactive in law enforcement efforts in spite of limited resources.
“This means more crime intervention and prevention, which will lead to less crime. I will increase patrols in high-risk communities and business districts, and help citizens to establish effective neighborhood watch programs.”
He added that he would protect the most vulnerable citizens with a high-profile presence in neighborhoods and by educating the public on crime prevention methods.
Wilmot also promised to implement more youth programs, continue collaborative efforts with state, local and federal law enforcement agencies and solicit additional funding to increase patrol “without burdening local taxpayers and keeping taxes down.”
He pledged to make the sheriff's office accessible by “getting information out to the public” and providing “easy access to all our services and our operations as a whole.”
“Transparency in our operations has always been a priority and will continue to be a priority for me as your next sheriff.”
Mara Knaub can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6856. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSMaraKnaub or on Twitter at @YSMaraKnaub.