Two retired Harford County sheriffs jumped into the Republican primary campaign Monday, endorsing a candidate in the June 24 primary election.
Jeffrey Gahler of Bel Air and John Ryan of Darlington will face off later this month. The winner will face incumbent Democrat Jesse Bane of Fallston in November’s general election.
Gahler, who has served 28 years with the Maryland State Police, picked up the endorsements of retired sheriffs William J. Kunkel and R. Thomas Golding, according to a news release. Kunkel served Harford County as sheriff from 1963 to 1982.
“This marks the first time
Sheriff Kunkel has
deemed outside leadership the correct and necessary choice for the future of Harford County’s primary law enforcement
agency,” says the news release from Gahler’s campaign.
Kunkel’s full endorsement says:
“As Harford County’s longest-serving sheriff, I understand the demands and the needs of the office. For that reason, I am proud to endorse the only candidate for sheriff who can return the Office of Sheriff to the professional organization it was previously. I am proud to endorse Jeff Gahler as Harford County’s next sheriff. With an unmatched level of statewide command experience and unequalled educational qualifications, Jeff stands ready to both serve Harford County as our sheriff and stands ready to be an advocate for every citizen’s rights.”
Gahler’s campaign has attacked Bane’s management of the Harford County Detention Center, and blamed the sheriff for losing key command officers.
“There have been a total of nine in custody deaths under the current sheriff's watch, a severe shortage of staffing and a less than aggressive effort to appoint an effective, qualified, and proven leader to address the issues haunting the Detention Center,” Gahler says on his campaign website.
The county’s detention center is one of the best, according to a state commission that gave detention center employees an award in February, according to a Baltimore Sun story. The detention center met 100 percent of the correctional standards for Maryland, state officials said.
Golding, who served as a member of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office for 30 years and served as sheriff from June 2003 to December 2006, also expressed his confidence in Gahler and the need for new leadership for the Sheriff’s Office.
He said: "Jeff Gahler is the one
candidate for sheriff who has the experience and skill to make the positive changes that are needed within the Office of
Sheriff. His new perspective coupled with
his credentials, motivation and common
sense approach in decision-making will be a breath of fresh air to our law enforcement community. With proud
enthusiasm, I support Jeff Gahler as our
next sheriff of Harford County."
Gahler is a 37-year resident of Harford County who lives in the Forest Hill community with his wife, Sonya, and their two daughters, Shelby and Sydney. He is a North Harford High School and Harford Community College graduate and obtained both his bachelor of science and master of science degrees in management from Johns Hopkins University.
Gahler is a member of the adjunct
faculty within the Public Safety Leadership Program at the Johns Hopkins University and is an operating partner with
the Advanced Leadership Consortium, a company
committed to providing quality training
and consulting services to public safety organizations and private businesses.
To learn more about Jeff Gahler and his campaign, visit www.gahlerforsheriff.com or follow him on Twitter@JeffGahler.