Thom Elliott, pictured at left, and William "J.R." Myers have both filed as Republican candidates for Phillips County Sheriff.
2018 elections approach
The Nov. 6 general election is still months away, but already Phillips County is bustling with preparations. Of particular note, two Republican candidates for sheriff have currently filed: Thom Elliott and William “J.R.” Myers.
It is possible, though not guaranteed, that both could wind up on the June 26 primary ballot. That determination begins with the Republican caucus on Tuesday, March 6. Phillips County will have two precinct clusters. Precincts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 8 will meet in Holyoke at SunSet View Community Center in Holyoke at 7 p.m. Precincts 5, 6 and 7 will meet at the Haxtun Community Center at 7 p.m.
Caucuses are open to the public, but in order to vote, a resident must have lived in precinct for at least 30 days and have been registered to vote no later than 29 days before the caucus and affiliated with the party for at least two months before the caucus.
During the caucus, each precinct will vote on delegates to send to the Sunday, March 25, Republican county assembly, which begins at 2 p.m. at the Phillips County Event Center, immediately following the 12:30 p.m. Lincoln Day Dinner. At the assembly, delegates will vote on who they want to select as nominee for sheriff.
A candidate receiving at least 30 percent of the votes at the assembly will be put on the primary ballot. If a candidate receives at least 10 percent of the votes, he can still petition to get on the ballot.
Other candidates who have filed for Phillips County offices are Doug Kamery, assessor; Linda Statz, treasurer; Joe Kinnie, district 1 commissioner; and Beth Zilla, clerk. Coroner and surveyor are also up for election. All offices have four-year terms.
April 20 is the last day a write-in candidate may file an affidavit for intent for the primary election.
Current employment: Phillips County sheriff.
Law enforcement experience: Cheyenne County deputy sheriff, 1991-2001; Phillips County deputy sheriff, 2002-2005; Phillips County undersheriff, 2005-2017; Phillips County sheriff, 2017-present.
Education: Denver Public Schools, 1984; U.S. Army Military Police Academy; Arapahoe Community College Police Officer Standards and Testing Academy, 1991.
Family: Wife, Julie, who works in the Natural Resources Conservation Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture; and daughter, Camille, a 2013 graduate of Holyoke High School, currently living in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she is an A&P mechanic.
When asked why he is running for sheriff, Elliott said, “I want to change the way the sheriff’s office has been doing business; I want to break the status quo.” As sheriff, he explained, he would like to make a better deputy by providing training and education that would enable the PCSO to better investigate crimes.
“I’m tired of criminals affecting the populace,” he said. The public safety responsibilities — enforcing traffic compliance, for example — will still be a part of PCSO, or course, but Elliott would like an emphasis on making better investigators of the deputies.
Something he’s already done during his time as sheriff and intends to continue is promoting better cooperation among law enforcement agencies. One way in which that is done is through an inter-county training cooperative, in which various agencies pool their trainers and training.
Elliott also has a goal to bring safety training opportunities to the community. In the past, for example, he’s worked with the Lions Club in Haxtun and with Meet and Eat in Holyoke. Such safety training can range from protecting oneself from physical harm to being aware of possible fraud.
In summary, Elliott explained that when he and his family moved to Holyoke, they intended to stay. As it’s his home, he wants to make Phillips County the best it can be. Moving up within PCSO allows him to directly make the county a better place, he concluded.
William “J.R.” Myers
Current employment: Phillips County undersheriff.
Law enforcement experience: A combined 18 years in military and law enforcement, including 18 months serving in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom; working as a detention officer and as a supervisor at a juvenile prison; in gang intelligence and investigation in jails; and terrorism training with Military Affairs.
Education: Master’s degree in law enforcement administration; Police Officer Standards and Testing certified.
Family: Wife, Corrin; sons Jordan, 15 years old, and Mason, 4 years old; stepchildren Emma-Leigh and Mikah; and expecting a newborn next month.
Myers’ biggest reason for seeking the Phillips County sheriff position is that it’s his career ambition. That’s why he pursued his master’s in law enforcement administration, he added.
His goal at PCSO is two-fold: to serve the department and to serve the Phillips County community.
Within the department, Myers would like to provide more tools and resources to the deputies, something he’s worked toward already with Sheriff Thom Elliott. In particular, Myers envisions a modernized department in which patrol vehicles are made mobile. Deputies would be able to be online while out in the field, he explained, which is important since the department is made up of four people who are responsible for 688 square miles.
He wants to see deputies out and about more, which ties in directly with the community-focused side of Myers’ goal. He would like PCSO to be out there and more involved in the community. For example, he pointed out a number of organizations within the community that the sheriff’s office could work with more closely, including the fire department and emergency medical services.
Myers brings valuable experiences, education and knowledge that can “improve the way we do business.” Though new to the area, Myers understands the small-town way of life and sees himself as family- and community-oriented, values he shares with the people of Phillips County.