Editor Note: This is the first in a series of articles on why candidates are running for office.
Various officials serving in the Arizona Legislature as well as members of school boards, city councils, county commissions and all sorts of public offices have come under criticism in recent years for myriad perceived wrongdoing in the eyes of some constituents.
Often the displeasure is expressed with a call to the elected official’s office or a letter to the editor. Other times the disapproval is expressed in public meetings or public rallies. On the rare occasion, critics have shown their discontent through picketing outside someone’s home.
But a few have gone so far as to dox or bully an employer or family member of a government official. Which begs the question, why would anyone want to run for elected office in such an atmosphere?
That is what Arizona Daily Independent recently asked several candidates who are campaigning for upcoming elections. And while all have different backgrounds, they share the same common motivation – to serve their fellow citizens in some way.
One of those candidates is Jon Christopher “Chris” Drummond, a soon-to-be retired trooper for the Arizona Department of Public Safety who is running in November to be Constable of Cochise County – Precinct Three covering the greater Benson / St. David area.
A constable in Arizona has peace officer authority to conduct various business on behalf of the local justice court. The main duties are to serve court documents such as eviction writs, orders of protection, criminal summonses, and both civil and criminal subpoenas.
“If elected, I will be working with the elected Justice of the Peace, the Cochise County Sheriff, and the courts both in Benson and adjacent justice precincts,” explained Drummond, who has a degree in Criminal Justice along with more than 36 years of law enforcement experience.
So why is he stepping into the political realm instead of simply riding into the retirement sunset, especially at a time when public sentiment toward elected officials can turn on a dime?
“Our rights are paramount to our way of life in this country and I’ve never seen them attacked before as they are being attacked now,” said Drummond. “If good men and women don’t step up and take a stand, we are doomed. The more positions good people on both sides of the political spectrum can fill, the better off this country will be.”
One of the biggest fans of the constable position is Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels.
“A good Constable is a true friend of sheriffs,” according to Dannels, who said the constables in Cochise County serve a vital role in the justice system. “Constables are an extension of the justice courts to serve civil process which helps free up our deputies from serving these court papers so they can respond to public safety calls for service.”
For Drummond, part of his campaign includes informing the public about what a constable does. And as a longtime peace officer, he is cognizant of the very real dangers a constable face – six of the nine constables killed in the line of duty over the years in Arizona served in Cochise County.
Drummond says he also enjoys talking with people about the history of the position, such as the fact constables have been serving in what is now the State of Arizona since the establishment of the Arizona Territory in 1863, and that most towns were served by a constable long before having a marshal or police chief.
Some of the most famous Arizona constables were Virgil Earp, who was elected as Prescott’s constable in 1878 before going on to become a Deputy U.S. Marshal and City Marshal in Tombstone, as well as former Arizona Governor Wes Bolin (1977-1978) who started his public service career as a constable in west Phoenix in 1938.