The first order of business is to get a single platform. And the county is willing to pay for it and the citizens need to demand that that happens. I'm going to. Once we get a single system, it's about developing protocols. —Salt Lake County Sheriff James Winder
SOUTH SALT LAKE — Jim Winder has officially announced his intention to seek a third term as sheriff of Salt Lake County.
"I am ready to commit body and soul to another four years of service,” Winder said Wednesday. “We stand prepared to once again undertake this responsibility because we love this community and cherish the opportunity to serve.”
Winder admitted, however, that nothing was a given, and he seriously considered not running.
"I really did. I've got young children, I've got a beautiful wife," he said, with his family standing by his side Wednesday. "I'm not a guy who does things in half measures. We're working a lot of hours and putting a lot into it. It takes a toll on the family. Luckily, my family is very engaged and supportive, and so we're committed. I really do want to continue to work on the initiatives we've begun."
Winder said it was after talking to his wife, Shawn Winder, who works with the Park City Fire District, and talking to members of the Unified Police Department Board that he decided to run again.
"When making the decision to seek re-election, my family and I discussed whether we wanted to remain in politics, as the term 'politician' has taken on an almost negative connotation in our society, and I understand why," he said. "When these politicians inevitably fail to deliver, they divert blame away from themselves by throwing the mud that is party politics — a divisive and destructive tendency that I simply will not engage in."
Unification will be one the main goals for Winder if he is re-elected. Specifically, Winder said he will be dedicated during his third term to unifying the county's emergency dispatch system.
"We gotta get together. We gotta start working on public safety issues as a whole," he said. "A lot of people are afraid that this is some kind of takeover of agencies. It has nothing to do with that. People expect and deserve that when they call 911 they're going to get a response and there's not going to be bickering.
"The first order of business is to get a single platform. And the county is willing to pay for it and the citizens need to demand that that happens. I'm going to. Once we get a single system, it's about developing protocols," Winder said.
Currently, there are two computer-aided dispatch systems in Salt Lake County. Critics say the system became even more complicated and confusing when Sandy police switched their dispatch services in October from the Valley Emergency Communications Center to Salt Lake City police. Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams has offered $1.3 million for a standardized system to be established.
Winder believes that within 18 to months to two years, there will be a different 911 system in place in Salt Lake County.
He also said he will continue advocating a unified policing model for the valley.
"It overcomes these petty tribal battles that go on between municipalities. It increases communication among law enforcement. It reduces costs hugely," he said.
Winder said both Midvale and Taylorsville have saved hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars since contracting with his Unified Police Department for police services.
The sheriff also touted among his accomplishments alleviating overcrowding at the main Salt Lake County Jail and reopening the Oxbow Jail.
"I started something. It isn't the time to go," Winder said. "Now let's go have a Red Bull and get back to work."
One of Winder's employees, Jake Petersen, a 15-year veteran with the Unified Police Department, has announced he's running for sheriff as a Republican candidate.