By Stephen Tool, MCIN Staff
Current Mineral County Sheriff Stewart E. Handte, was first in line to file as a candidate for sheriff in Mineral County’s upcoming November elections. Handte is the only person who has filed for the position at this point.
Handte is a 27-year veteran of police work, including a long stint with the Nevada Highway Patrol. Among Handte’s priorities is a continuance of proactive and progressive police work including tackling the local drug problems.
Handte says he’s made efforts to personally visit the northern and southern parts of Mineral County to let those citizens know his department will maintain an active presence in their areas. He also plans to reactivate Citizens on Patrol, which actively involves seniors and retirees of the Hawthorne area.
“Our local citizens are the extra sets of eyes and ears out there,” he said. “They are the foundation blocks of the county.”
He and his department have also been visiting the schools to let citizens know the department and school will not tolerate drugs in the school and anyone who attempts to do so will find themselves in jail.
“I’d really like to expand the department and increase the pay scale to be more commiserate with other departments,” Handte said, acknowledged some of these goals will take time to implement.
Handte sums up his views on the criminal element in Hawthorne County:
“I’m going to steal a quote from a sheriff of Harlan County, Kentucky, ‘To the people who do drugs, whether they buy drugs, sell drugs or distribute drugs in this county, I want them to wake up every morning and while they’re pouring their first cup of coffee, I want them to think in the back of their heads whether this is the day the sheriff’s department comes knocking on their door.’
“Sooner or later, we will come knocking on their door, we will arrest them. We will take each part of the criminal element puzzle and extract it.”
Handte says he realizes to accomplish these goals he will need the help of the local citizens as well as the county commissioners.
“I’ve always believed law enforcement is a team effort and I will not lose that team aspect as sheriff,” he said.
One of the accomplishments Handte is most proud of is his cross deputizing with the the Walker River Paiute Tribe, in which each entity can perform law enforcement duties on each others turf. He has also implemented the program with some neighboring counties and hopes to eventually include all surrounding counties.
“I’m going to continue to do what needs to be done,” he said. “I’m looking forward to staying on as sheriff of this county, and to proceed forward with my goals in keeping the county a safe place to live.”