Meet the Candidates: Leon Wilmot - Yuma County Sheriff
The Yuma Sun is spotlighting the candidates ahead of the Nov. 6 general election. Check out past editions of Meet the Candidates online at www.YumaSun.com/Elections.
Name: Leon N. Wilmot
Office running for: Yuma County sheriff
Family: Wife - Ruth Wilmot
Education: Arizona Western College, Arizona State University, University of Virginia, FBI National Academy. Drug Enforcement Administration Supervisor's Course, Obtained the Professional Development designation through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to name a few
Employment: Yuma County Sheriff's Office
To what organizations do you belong? Arizona State Legislative Committee Notification Board on Sex Offenders, Emergency Management Advisory Council, Deputy Sheriff's Association, National Rifle Association, National Sheriff's Association, Select Council on Progressive Enforcement - past president two times, Southwestern Border Sheriff's Coalition Training Committee, Yuma Area Ag Council, Yuma County Local Emergency Planning Committee, American Legion Post 19, Arizona Town Hall, Caballeros de Yuma, Model A Ford Club of America, Model A Restorers Club, Single Action Shooting Society, U.S. Practical Pistol Association, White Mountain Range Riders, Yuma County Sheriff's Posse, Yuma Masonic Lodge 17, Yuma MatchMasters, Yuma Valley Rod and Gun Club, and Yuma County Mounted Posse
What in your past experiences helps qualify you for this seat? My 27 years of law enforcement experience with the Yuma County Sheriff's Office, graduate of the FBI National Academy, certified public manager from Arizona State University and including over seven years as the chief deputy. This unique experience has given me the tools needed to take the sheriff's office to the next level of service that our citizens expect from a professional organization. Additionally, I am the only candidate in this election who is certified in the state of Arizona as a peace officer.
If elected, what is the one issue on which you would focus to improve Yuma's quality of life? How? I will continue to be proactive in our law enforcement efforts. 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. My priorities as your sheriff will be ensuring the safety of the most vulnerable amongst us by providing a high profile presence of law enforcement professionals in your neighborhoods and educating the public on current criminal trends and crime prevention methods to help improve the quality of life in our communities. I will implement more youth programs to build bridges with our next generation and open lines of communication and cooperation to our future leaders. I will continue collaborative efforts between the various state, local and federal law enforcement agencies in order to maximize effectiveness. I will continue to solicit additional funding to increase patrol without burdening local taxpayers and keeping taxes down.
What do you think is the biggest challenge right now facing Yumans, and how would you change it? The effect of a poor economy is the biggest challenge we face. Unfortunately in tough economic times, we see an increase in crimes, such as burglaries, thefts and domestic violence, etc. With that comes a responsibility of our agency to do crime tracking and to monitor trends of the criminal element to better provide pro-active law enforcement with our limited resources.
What would you do to make government more accessible? Many people don't know that the sheriff is responsible for running an 800-man jail, civil process service, tax collections and a patrol division which covers more than 5,000 square miles. One of our main focal points at the sheriff's office is getting information out to the public as well as easy access to all our services and our operations as a whole. We post not only our activities but also our department budget as well. Transparency in our operations has always been a priority and will continue to be a priority for me as your next sheriff.
Who is your personal hero, and why? It has always been John Wayne. He had a great philosophical outlook on life that I relate to. He was an actor but also a great patriot who stood by his word and believed in sticking to principles. He had many great quotes and there are two that I always appreciated: “There's right and there's wrong. You got to do one or the other. You do the one and you're living. You do the other and you may be walking around but you're dead as a beaver hat.” And “I won't be wronged. I won't be insulted. I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.”