Shires touts firsthand experience
Candidate for sheriff calls for mental health focus
Jim Shires will be running against Jeff Shrader during the 2014 Jefferson County Sheriff primaries this June.
A native of Oklahoma and resident of Wheat Ridge, Shires will be going into his 29th year with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office in August.
Shires, was promoted to sergeant since 2012, and promoted again to field training sergeant within six months.
His continued interaction with deputies and the general public is what gives him a better insight into the changes that are long overdue at the Jeffco Sheriff’s office, Shires said.
“Understanding what the current job demand is because I’ve stayed connected with the job … helped me understand what the citizens want from their local law enforcement agency,” he said. “I’m the only candidate that’s made an arrest in the past 20 years.”
While his priorities are similar to other candidates including school safety and protecting the second amendment; Shires has plans to address mental health while increasing responsibility to protect senior citizens as well as developing more user-friendly online reporting tools for citizens.
His viewpoint on low morale among deputies isn’t all about pay raises, he said.
“Pay doesn’t fix morale within businesses and employees,” Shires said. “It’s how either the businesses are being run or how the employees are being treated, and I think we have a combination of both of those which has caused morale to be as low as it is.”
While working in the jails, Shires has seen numerous inmates who are afflicted with mental illnesses who are not receiving adequate treatment. In some cases, “chronic visitors” to the jail is common, with one inmate in particular being transported to a local hospital for self-mutilation two to even three times a day, Shires said.
If elected, he plans to reach out to community mental health experts and centers that can assist in ensuring that inmates are evaluated properly and receiving the correct treatment in the most appropriate place.
“We as a community need to work together to ensure that these people are getting the help that they need in the most efficient manner.”
George Mumma, senior investigator for the Jeffco District Attorney’s Office, has been working closely with Shires to help develop and organize Shires’ priorities into a plan of action. Shires said he is looking forward to collaborating further with Mumma, who has worked at the DA’s office for 20 years and was instrumental in creating a juvenile assessment center under former DA Dave Thomas.
Shires, who calls Mumma his “right hand man” plans to bring him in as an undersheriff should the voters of Jeffco elect him as sheriff.
“I’m not part of the establishment, I’m not a bureaucrat.” Shires said. “I pledged 28 years ago to give the best service I can and my pledge is stronger now than it ever has been.”
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