We believe that Mark Napier is the best candidate to lead the Pima County Sheriff's Department.

We say that while acknowledging that Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, a Democrat who has been the county's top law enforcement officer for more than two decades, cleaned up and modernized the Sheriff's Depart-ment, formed innovative units and collaborations and, in the process, became a local institution.

The time has come, though, as it does in every person's career, to hand over the reins to someone with fresh ideas.

Napier's time with the Tucson Police Department - he is a retired captain - and as an assistant director with the Glendale Police Department give him outside perspectives on law enforcement and organizational structures for a large agency. He also has a master's degree in criminal justice from Boston University.

Dave Croteau, a Green Party candidate, is running on a pro-marijuana-legalization platform.

Napier, a Republican, said he would work with local police departments to find ways to coordinate efforts. As he said during a Star interview, "Criminals don't know jurisdictional boundaries."

We appreciated Napier's response to a question about the Pima County jail employees who were involved in a brutal fight outside a Tucson bar. When we met with the candidates Sept. 25, five officers had been arrested. More have been fired and criminally charged since then.

Dupnik said he viewed the incident as an "aberration."

Napier said that if it had been one or two jail employees, it could be viewed as a couple of bad apples acting out. The large numbers of officers, however, "raises the warning bell of a larger problem," he said. "We do a good job of reacting. We do not do a good job of figuring out how this happened."

This kind of information-gathering and preventive approach will benefit Pima County residents and the law enforcement officers who work to protect them.

We support Mark Napier for Pima County sheriff.

Arizona Daily Star