Free Press Letter: Benita Phillips for Mesa County Sheriff |

Free Press Letter: Benita Phillips for Mesa County Sheriff

The sheriff position requires a proven administrator, but not a “street law enforcer.” After 35 years of nursing experience, I have had a varied experience base that gives me the credentials to “administer” and lead the Mesa County Sheriff Office (MSCO.)

I have been a director of nursing (nursing home administrator licensed) in two large, long-term care facilities with over 180 beds and 200-plus nursing/support staff. Both facilities were out of compliance with their respective states. Both were back in compliance in less than three months. I wrote, administered and taught the first childbirth/childcare program for Saudi Aramco, the largest oil company in the world. I was in the first Gulf War as a civilian nurse. My husband, a chemical engineer, blended war jet fuel. I was the only U.S. RN with ICU and ACLS certification that stayed behind in the war zone, developing a team of multi-national nurses. Our priority was to develop a HazMat protocol for chemical weapons and triage unit based on U.S. standards. I spent almost a decade working at Veteran Administration hospitals. Here, in Grand Junction, I was supervisor of ICU/medical/surgical when my units were instrumental in the acquisition of the Carey Award, for the top level of care of all veterans nationally. Working with Federal agencies is not a pretense to a dilemma.

Mesa County Sheriff Office (MSCO) requires a new, reformed vision. I am the first woman, the first registered nurse, the first “civilian” to run, and I have done so without anyone’s money. That’s a true and pure grassroots campaign.

At any one time, 50 percent of incarcerated individuals have some diagnosis of mental illness; who better than a nurse to deal with that? I have tremendous depth of experience in bridging a multi-cultural gap that we see at the MCSO, with MCSO not reflecting our diverse population. I believe in the prevention of crime by developing a multi-generational, multi-cultural sense of community, not punitive street justice. There would be no “Washington Post” article placing MCSO and the DA office under suspicion of misusing public funds.

A decent environment to live in, a sense of pride in community, and a setting of attainable financial and professional goals are required for the MCSO to move into the future. As the first woman, the first RN, and a write-in candidate, I am beholden to no one. I owe no favors to any party member, to any city or county entity. As sheriff, only individual professional merit would be the bases for promotion and commendation. I would make a good, honest sheriff. Write In “BENITA PHILLIPS” for your Mesa County Sheriff.

Benita Phillips

Mesa County, Colo.

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