Sheriff Gower aims to work closely with fellow law enforcement, community; seeks re-election

CEDAR CITY — Current incumbent Republican candidate for Iron County Sheriff, Mark Gower, calls for voters new and old to take to the polls in the pending election season.

Gower, born and raised in the Iron County area, said his career in law enforcement began in 1987 when he first started as a volunteer for the Iron County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue team.

“After I’d been a volunteer with them for a while, I decided I wanted a career in law enforcement,” Gower said. “I just fell in love with working in the Sheriff’s Office.”

In 1993, Gower said, he was officially hired on as a patrol deputy with the Sheriff’s Office, where he then moved up the ladder into positions in the narcotics task force and as a lead detective. In 2003, he was elected Sheriff of Iron County.

Gower said his job as a sheriff is not one of power and superiority, but rather a friend and person of trust to the community.

“When I started in as sheriff, I wanted to try and show people that we are here as a friend,” Gower said. “We’re here to be on your side and help you through a situation that you may be involved in.”

During his position as sheriff, Gower said, he has helped implement multiple trainings and programs to help the Sheriff’s Office stay up-to-date on new trends within law enforcement. He said since he took over the Sheriff’s Office, they have greatly improved their forensic capabilities and are now able to better investigate crimes.

Gower also assisted with tackling the issue of animal control. He said there was no previous animal control facility before he came into office, and he has since been able to implement and fund an animal control shelter.

This shelter, Gower said, has taken a lot of pressure off ranchers because it has assisted with controlling stray dogs in the area.

In the course of Gower’s position as sheriff, the Sheriff’s Office has also been joined together with Iron County Ambulance, an opportunity that Gower said has added to his strength as a candidate in the election.

“It’s really strengthened my knowledge at being an administrator,” Gower said. “Taking on a whole new division with 70 part-time and full-time employees was a lot of work, but has definitely given me a lot of insight on the ambulance division and the great people that work there.”

In his current dealings with the Bureau of Land Management, Gower said, he has had no recent issues with the organization, and will continue to work together with them as needed.

“I’ve been lucky, I’ve (dealt) with BLM rangers who are very commonsense individuals, who understand the role of the sheriff and have never stepped on my toes,” Gower said. “As long as I can keep that kind of relationship with them … we’ll get along fine.”

Gower was previously running unopposed for the office until his former opponent in the 2014 April Republican caucus, Dave McIntyre, rejoined the race in late August.

McIntyre, a sergeant in the Cedar City Police Department, faced-off against Gower at the caucus, but was eliminated after Gower walked away with 72 percent of the votes.

McIntyre has said some of his beliefs and philosophies are similar to Gower’s, but they differ on how they choose to conduct themselves in leadership positions.

Gower said his leadership qualities are more hands-on, and that he tries to work closely with all those in his office. Understanding the thoughts and jobs of those in the Sheriff’s Office is important to ensure things run smoothly.

“My leadership style is to not ask anybody … in this department to do anything that I’m not willing to do myself,” Gower said. “I’m a hands-on sheriff and I live by the saying, ‘work hard and stay humble.’”

If re-elected, Gower said he would continue to work closely with the people of Iron County, and urges all voters to go out to the polls in November. Voting gives people the chance to have their voices be heard by choosing candidates they think are best suited for the changes they want.

“The power of the ballot box is amazing,” Gower said. “That is where people can make changes (where) they feel there needs to be a change.”

Gower will be facing off against McIntyre in a debate at Southern Utah University on Thursday. They will also be available before and after the debate for questions and comments from the public regarding their campaign and stances on certain issues.

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