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Carter, Mendoza in race for county sheriff

February 16, 2002|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

If this year's election for county sheriff seems familiar, there is good reason — the two men running faced each other four years ago during the sheriff's race runoff.

Harold Carter was elected sheriff over Ernie Mendoza that year.

After one term as sheriff, Carter has said he would like a chance to serve the community another four years.

Mendoza, a chief deputy in the county Sheriff's Office, said he would like to use his experience to bring about change.

Both men have decades of experience in law enforcement. Both have devoted their careers to the Imperial Valley.

Carter served three decades with the El Centro Police Department. He retired after five years as police chief.

Mendoza has worked three decades for the Sheriff's Office and has risen in rank to chief deputy — the highest position under the sheriff. Mendoza is in charge of corrections.

This week both talked of their plans for the department.

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Carter said he thinks during his first term, the department moved forward in its efforts to improve service to the community. He said the department has grown in staffing and improved training efforts, all to better serve the community.

Mendoza said more needs to be done to make sure the department can provide basic services to the community and more effort must be put into meeting the needs of the outlying areas.

He said his goal is to increase services by placing more uniformed officers on the streets.

The men differ on issues such as the possibility of having a privatized federal prison built in the county.

Carter supports the project as a way to add jobs and to bring new revenue to the county. Mendoza said he is against the project as proposed because of public and staff safety issues he said have not been addressed.

>> Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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