It is the purpose of this missive to give the readership of The Taos News some personal insight into their incumbent sheriff, Jerry Hogrefe, who is running for re-election.
I have known Jerry for 24 years. I have policed alongside of him. I know him both personally and professionally, and I have watched his growth as a man and a law enforcement professional. For this purpose, I would like to speak to his character, integrity and professional qualifications to be sheriff of Taos County.
Jerry Hogrefe has depth of character. The guy most of you have come to know through his campaigning, law enforcement leadership and statements to the press as his department has gone about its duties is the same guy he is all the time.
No public persona contradicts who he is away from the job. As a law enforcement officer, as a friend, as a community service volunteer, as a dad to Joel, and as a husband to Susan, he is consistent. He is committed, caring, trustworthy and genuine. What you see with Jerry is what you get, and it's good. Jerry Hogrefe definitely is one of the good guys. And he is one of the best good guys that I know.
Another great thing about Sheriff Hogrefe is that he will always do the right thing. Almost as important, he will not only always do the right thing, but he will do it the right way. Jerry never concludes that "the end justifies the means." He will do the right thing the right way whether he is all alone or whether every TV and cell phone camera is watching his every move. Taos County can know that a man of integrity heads their sheriff's department.
A long time ago, Jerry said something funny that has stuck with me through the years. He said, "I may not be the best cop in New Mexico, but I have the best Rolodex!" (A "Rolodex", for you younger readers, is where we kept our contact information of professional associates back during the Stone Age.)
This is an extremely positive and telling characteristic of Sheriff Hogrefe. He knows his own limitations. He's not so egotistical that he won't ask for help.
This makes for a strong leader that can be respected. Jerry Hogrefe is known and respected throughout the state not only for his competency but also for organizing and using additional resources, then providing the direction and leadership to get the job done efficiently and bring about a successful resolution. A look over his first term as sheriff proves this point exactly.
Along the lines of leadership, I often hear law enforcement leaders brag that they "lead from the front." Jerry Hogrefe has a servant's heart.
He is okay with all of his deputies and the community watching his every move, personally and professionally. He lives what he believes: a life of service. Sheriff Hogrefe's leadership includes the unique ability to make everyone around him do and be better. He is a helper, an encourager and a facilitator. Jerry just makes a place better when he shows up.
Let me assure you that Jerry Hogrefe is not the cop I first knew 24 years ago. He is much more.
Jerry has not stagnated during his career. He has become a master of his craft, that being law enforcement. Jerry's thirst for knowledge, to know, do and be better, has always been at the forefront of what he is about. (I'd guess that he is on many others' Rolodexes now!)
Taos County is looking at a man with vast and impeccable law enforcement credentials. He is not some big city cop who decided to downsize and retire on the job by coming to Taos County. Jerry's whole career has been about Taos County. You don't often get the chance to re-elect someone like that!
My own 37-year police career came to an end when I retired in 2015. While my home is now in Albuquerque as I care for my 97-year old mother, my heart (and my house) are still in Taos County, and I look forward to the day when I can resume my residency there. In the meantime, Taos County simply cannot pass up this opportunity to keep Jerry Hogrefe in office as its sheriff. A man like this doesn't come along very often. Vote on June 5.
Bill Hubbard is retired in Albuquerque.