JEFF BARNES FOR LARAMIE COUNTY SHERIFF
I grew up in a small Midwestern town. The rules were simple there. You work for what you have, you look after those you care for, and you keep true to your word…no matter what. My hometown was rough around the edges, but it taught me lessons that I have never forgotten. One of the most important lessons I learned growing up was that service to others not only benefits the community but also brings great personal satisfaction.
At 18, when I graduated high school, I was at a crossroads. However, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to serve—serve my country, my community, and my neighbors. With that in mind I left my hometown and joined the United States Air Force. I can still remember the pride I felt putting on the uniform for the first time knowing that I was making a difference. I felt that pride once again, years later, looking at myself in the mirror in my police uniform after I graduated from the police academy.
The desire and dedication to serve is something I still feel deeply to this day. I chose Cheyenne as my home, because it reflects the values that mean so much to me. After 32 years in the military, experiencing combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, and 27 years in law enforcement on some of the most dangerous streets in America, I felt compelled to continue my service upon moving to Laramie County. I joined the Sheriff’s Department in 2017 and had the pleasure of working alongside truly dedicated professionals. I also interacted with the great citizens of this county daily, and they confirmed that this is where I belong.
After careful thought and consideration, and conversations with close friends and supporters, I have decided to run for election as your Sheriff of Laramie County. I believe that public safety services should be provided in a fair and non-partisan manner. Protect and Serve shouldn’t just be a decal affixed to the side of a vehicle, it should be the overriding philosophy that guides the actions of every law enforcement officer, and that starts at the top. Years ago I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, and for me, that oath will never expire. I am the only candidate in this race that has years of experience as a commander, leading police officers and Airmen in dynamic situations over the course of decades, while also most recently serving the citizens of Laramie county as a deputy. My prior military, police, and corporate experience coupled with my boots on the ground service here in Wyoming has provided me with a unique perspective. I am and will remain in touch, informed and involved. I would be honored to earn your vote for sheriff…so that I can continue to apply those lessons I learned long ago and continue to provide service to my country, my community, and my neighbors.
Why Your Sheriff Should Be an Independent Candidate…
Every day, our world is becoming more and more politically polarized. While polarization can be healthy for a democracy, too much of it divides people to a point where compromise is near impossible and hatred becomes a key characteristic of a population.
Partisan politics shouldn’t enter into the role of Sheriff. A county sheriff should focus on crime that impacts the residents he/she serves, impartially enforcing the laws that are in place and running their department efficiently. Leaning heavily into one political persuasion or another does nothing but alienate sections of a population you’re supposed to "protect and serve."
I am running as an “independent/unaffiliated” candidate in this election. If I am elected to the position of sheriff, I will impartially dedicate myself to addressing the issues that are a concern to all of our residents and will work to stay in touch, informed and involved on issues that impact the effective administration of the office.
I Wasn’t Born Here, but I Got Here As Soon As I Could
My first task as I begin my campaign for Sheriff is to gather signatures to be placed on the ballot in November. Any candidate running as an Independent in the election has the arduous job of obtaining the signatures of 900 registered voters. No easy task, I have been hitting the pavement every chance I get meeting and greeting a lot of county residents. As I introduce myself, I tell them about my background and experience and answer any questions they may have. Every now and then, someone will ask, “How long have you lived here?” This question, coupled with the fact that some of my opponents have touted the fact that they are “lifelong residents,” made me realize that I should probably address that question here.
In 1998, dear police friends from St. Louis relocated to Cheyenne for work. We laughed together about their move, because my wife and I were the ones passionate about the West spending all of our vacations soaking in the beauty and longing to make our own relocation. After their move, we spent many wonderful summer weeks across the years, staying with them in Cheyenne soaking up the sunsets and falling in love with the town. We would look across the pasture at their neighbor’s home and say, “That house. If it ever goes up for sale, that’s the one.” When “that house” did go up for sale in 2015, we didn’t hesitate. We left the city where we were born and raised, and never looked back. Though I could have retired, I took a job as a deputy with the Laramie County Sheriff’s Department, excited to be back on patrol once more.
I want to serve the citizens of Laramie County because I want to do my part to preserve the lifestyle that is enjoyed here. I had lived and worked in a big city long enough to know that the way of life we enjoy here has to be valued and maintained. I witnessed first hand how crime and lawlessness destroys communities and changes neighborhoods dramatically. I don’t want those changes happening here in Cheyenne
Though it will undoubtedly be said that I couldn’t possibly understand the residents and the issues they face because I haven’t lived here for 40 years, I have to disagree. It didn’t take me 40 years or a lifelong residency to recognize that crime is on the rise and the citizens need attention. My last 4 years as a patrol deputy has connected me to exactly how the residents feel about things, and I have heard them.
The fact that I haven’t lived here all my life should never be equated to a lack of commitment or the skill for exploring a problem, creating a solution and implementing a program that will address an issue that affects the community. That ability is not the result of a lifelong residency in an area, but the culmination of experience, persistence and commitment. I have the experience you’re looking for, the persistence you need, and an absolute commitment to the residents of Laramie County. I hope to earn your vote in November!