Nicastle enters Adams County sheriff race

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Former Adams County sheriff candidate Mark Nicastle, who ran against Sheriff Doug Darr in 2010, is hoping to make a comeback by facing fellow Republican Michael McIntosh in the 2014 primary election for the same seat.

Nicastle, a Hudson resident and former longtime Adams County Sheriff’s Office employee, filed his papers Feb. 18 to run against the current sheriff’s office division chief, according to the secretary of state’s office.

“When the ranking people in the organization hand off the staff to another commander in the organization, nothing changes again,” Nicastle said. “The organization wants the kind of leadership style that I’ve offered for the 32 years that I was there.”

Nicastle said he hopes to change the direction of the sheriff’s office by offering a different set of management and leadership styles.

These changes, he said, include changing sole-sourcing procedures for some contracted sheriff’s office services and cutting what he says are “over-the-top and out of control” medical-contract costs in the jail division.

“When taxpayers are paying $5.5 million to fund medical care for inmates, it’s way over the top,” Nicastle said. “We can’t let inmates suffer in pain — it’s our responsibility in there and it’s on the taxpayer’s dime — but the contract was written by a fairly liberal person, who thinks that inmates should be given eye care or dental work when they’re only in there for an average of a few days or two years at most.”

Nicastle said creating improved triage methods would generate about $500,000 in cost savings that could then be used to increase enforcement on the streets and alleviate the ongoing municipal jail cap by putting more sheriff’s office employees in the county jail.

“There’s absolutely no reason that the Adams County Sheriff’s Office can’t put all of their attention to city prisoners,” Nicastle said. “When you’re talking about how many city prisoners go to the Adams County jail, there’s not that many.”

What’s more, he said, creating cost- or employee-sharing agreements with Adams County for human resources and information technology needs could save the sheriff’s office about $250,000 to $300,000.

To supplement this effort, Nicastle said, the sheriff’s office could also use part-time retired veteran police officers to do background checks on new hires and for concealed-weapons permits.

Nicastle, who began his tenure at the sheriff’s office in 1980 as a patrolman, commanded several key areas within the department before his retirement in 2011, including the SWAT team, bomb squad, K-9 units and North Metro Drug Task Force.

He now serves as a Mountain View Police Department commander and U.S. Marshals Service security officer at several Denver federal court buildings.

Darr, a Democrat, is term-limited and will step down at the end of his third term in 2014. Darr was first elected in 2006 and was limited to two terms before Adams County voters extended term limits to three in November 2009.