Doug Schuster is the Mohave County Sheriff-elect, a little more than a year after retiring from the department for which he worked for 25 years. Schuster believes his contacts and friends from his sheriff’s office career and running a clean campaign are the key factors in his August 30 primary election victory.

With the primary win over five other republican candidates and no other party fielding a sheriff’s race contender, Schuster will take office early next year. Not having to continue campaigning, gives the Lake Havasu City republican more time to plan his administrative transition.

“Logistically it’s ideal for me. Of course I want to take a week or two to myself, catch up with my family and decompress. It has been a long campaign run,” Schuster said. After that point there’s a lot to be done. I’m looking forward to meeting with county officials, obviously the board of supervisors. I’d like to sit down with the chiefs of police in the main three cities and I do have a game plan.”

Schuster said he has identified four people he would like to interview for possible appointment as his chief deputy. He said the chief deputy will likely come from within a department that needs to add personnel and change its attitude.

“The first thing I want to address is the employee morale,” Schuster said. “I think I’m coming into a shattered department. I look forward to addressing that immediately. It has to be addressed because we cannot provide the services that the citizens deserve with the staffing levels we currently have. So, staffing and morale are going to be the two hot topics that I’ll be focused on until we get them corrected.”

Schuster said he envisions some restructuring within the sheriff’s office and perhaps a realignment of some personnel and their duties. But he said he’s not going to clean house.

“It’s a clean slate for everybody. I have no intention of coming in and terminating anybody,” Schuster said. “I certainly want just the opposite. I’m looking forward to getting with the officers that we do have, and command staff that is present because I believe in them and we’re going to work together to turn that department around.”