MONTICELLO Remember the sheriff’s race in 2005?
History is repeating itself this year.
And if Frank Armstrong loses the race a second time, he said you can pretty much count on his participation in a third battle for the top law enforcement job in 2013.
“I haven’t given up my idea of being there,” the Democrat said this week following last week’s announcement of his campaign.
The former Monticello policeman is now a county legislator representing northwestern Sullivan County (where he lives with wife Patty, a nurse), having been appointed and then subsequently elected to that position in 2007 after a failed and expensive bid for sheriff in 2005.
What’s changed this time around?
“I hope I’ll be a little smarter this time and spend other people’s money!” he quipped.
Turning serious, Armstrong said he has long desired to lead the county’s dedicated deputies in a proactive manner, promoting crime prevention and intervention as much as responding to already-committed offenses.
“I think we need to go beyond the response,” he explained. “We need to get out there ahead of it.”
Manpower alone will never solve the constant issue of crime in Sullivan County, he observed.
“I think we have to involve the public,” Armstrong said. “And I think we have to realize the Sheriff’s Department is not just the road patrol.”
While he’s confident he’ll earn the Democratic nomination next week over challenger (and Sheriff’s Deputy) Keith Stephenson, Armstrong is surprisingly complimentary to his now-two-time Republican opponent, Sheriff Michael Schiff.
“I believe that Mike is trying his very best and believes he is doing his very best,” Armstrong said.
But he sees a way of operating the Sheriff’s Office differently one he hopes to explore with the public.
“I want to have a conversation with the people in Sullivan County,” Armstrong remarked, seeking to know what they want out of their sheriff. “I’d like to educate people slowly to the fact that there’s really a different way to do this.”