Our Opinion: Carter for sheriff

March 03, 2002

After four years as Imperial County sheriff, Harold Carter has gained the experience he needs — and has had enough success during his tenure — to merit a second four-year term.

Running the county Sheriff's Office is no easy task and requires a person with the ability to see the bigger picture, which means providing daily services the community demands and looking toward the future needs of our area. Carter has proven he has a strong vision for the department and the county and has the skills to work toward that end while still meeting the daily need for service.

We support Carter's efforts to upgrade the county jail to make it safer for inmates and correctional officers and the work he has put in building up forces to cover the local sand dunes during holiday weekends. He has placed focus on training and his management style has improved the image of the Sheriff's Office.


We also support Carter, along with the county, in the effort to attract a privately run federal prison. From what we have heard, such a prison would be safe, would create jobs and would add to the economy — all important elements to consider. Carter has been aggressive in pursuing the project and that is what the sheriff should be doing.

Our support for Carter is not meant to suggest he has been a perfect sheriff. There have been some problems, such as a killing in the jail, during his tenure. Ultimately, the buck stops with the individual in charge and that was Carter. Yet he is trying to make changes for the better in the jail.

In his first four-year term, Carter, previously El Centro police chief, has learned what it is to manage such a diverse department as the Sheriff's office.

Ernie Mendoza has served three decades with the Sheriff's Office. He knows the needs of the department and we like a few of his ideas about a different management structure. Mendoza and his advisers should be credited for taking a bit of a higher road in this campaign than in the one four years ago against Carter, although the road dug four years ago was as low as it could go.

Campaigning aside, Carter has more experience as a manager and has done a good job during his first term.

We see no need for a change. The better man and the better manager has the job already.

On Tuesday, cast your ballots for sheriff for Harold Carter.

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