Jan 21, 2010 5:25 PM by Andy Koen
El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa is ready to move on to other career opportunities. The 22 year veteran of the sheriff's office made the surprise announcement Wednesday that he will not seek re-election in the fall.
While not specifically saying what job offers he's been given, Maketa said most are in the security industry within the private sector.
"To be honest, I think I have some opportunities today that I can explore at the end of this term or maybe even before I finish out this term that certainly benefit myself, my family in many ways," Maketa said.
He added that uncertainty about future county budgets and the time and financial commitments to a campaign also weighed heavily on his decision.
"When... you're having to let people go, you know the people that are remaining behind are at their limits on the amount of work they can take," Maketa said.
"It's not just that they're not going to get the work done, but it's the personal danger they place themselves in, that's what I live with, that's what's on my mind."
The sheriff rejected the idea that he was somehow abandoning the county after voters cleared the way for him to run for a third term. Previously, sheriffs were term limited to two terms.
"I think it's a tremendous honor that I was in office when the voters said, we'll let you have another term. I don't think that forms a contract, it's still my decision."
The sheriff says he's in no hurry to leave office and has made no specific commitments to any of the job offers he's been given.
"I have a year to go. I'm going to finish that year, I have a couple projects that I'm working on that I want to see through that benefit the office and the community and then during that time I will to be talking to people."
So far, former sheriff's office Lieutenant Todd Evans is the only person to officially announce a campaign to replace Maketa. The 12 year law enforcement veteran is running on the Republican ticket.
Maketa did not give his endorsement to Evans just yet, saying he wanted to see how the field played out in the coming weeks. Without specifically mentioning names, Maketa said there is a slight possibility that one of his command staff members may join the race.