Sheriff race features experience

By Kevin Wilson: Quay County Sun

Editor’s Note: This is one in a series related to the June 6 primary elections. This story focuses on the Democratic primary for county sheriff between Joe Schallert and John Barreras.

John Barreras wants another chance as the Quay County Sheriff. Joe Schallert wants his first.

The two men, who both have long careers in law enforcement and familiarity with the county, are on the Democratic ticket for the spot as the new county sheriff.

The winner of the June 6 primary will be the Democratic nominee for sheriff and will face Jim Witcher, who is running unopposed on the Republican ticket in the November general election.

The winner will replace Jack Huntley, who leaves the office due to term limitations.

Schallert, who is currently serving as undersheriff, said he hopes he gets the opportunity to take the next step.

“I’ve worked for one chief of police and four sheriffs,” Schallert said. “With 17 years of experience, I would like the opportunity to become sheriff myself.”

Barreras, who served a two-year sheriff term from 1989 to 1990, has also served with the Tucumcari Police Department, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Most recently, Barreras operated a portable toilet business called Quay Rent-a-John, which he sold last year.

““Law enforcement has been my life,” Barreras said. “It’s in my heart, it’s in my blood.”

The same could be said by Schallert, who has been out of town this week doing law enforcement training seminars.

Schallert, who said he has 700 hours of specialized training beyond regular certification and is a certified instructor in many fields, said citizens are safer when they know what to look out for in regard to methamphetamine labs and other crimes. Schallert hopes his training will help him be an educator to the deputies of the department and the citizens of Quay County.

Barreras said his highest priorities are to combat drugs and improve service to the outer areas of Quay County.

“Law enforcement itself has not changed, but it is the type of service being provided that has changed,” Barreras said. “I will bring the sheriff’s office back to a department of service for the citizens of Quay County.”

Schallert also feels accountable to the citizens, and wants the voters to look at his experience and dedication over his last 17 years in Tucumcari.

“I’m a certified law enforcement officer,” Schallert said. “I have the experience and education. I have made law enforcement a career. I will be fair and dependable.”