Coarsegold resident Dennis Fairbanks, 62, a 31-year California Highway Patrol veteran, has announced that he will run for Madera County Sheriff in the 2014 election.
Currently a Realtor with Realty Concepts, Fairbanks retired from CHP in 2003. A native of Thousand Oaks, Fairbanks entered the CHP Academy in 1972 and graduated in 1973. For the next 16 years he worked in Los Angeles and Ventura. During that time he also earned a bachelor of arts in public administration from the University of Redlands in 1978.
In 1984, he was assigned to a task force with Federal Bureau of Investigation at the Olympics where he worked the anti-terrorist operation center. His particular expertise was domestic terrorism. During that year Fairbanks was promoted to rank of sergeant.
Fairbanks also served in the armed forces from 1970 to 1988. He spent six years with the California Air National Guard in a Security Police Squadron, 12 years with the United States Coast Guard, three years assigned to a 41-foot search and rescue boat out of the Channel Islands, and eight years as a special agent with the Coast Guard Intelligence and Law Enforcement branch.
In 1988, Fairbanks transferred to CHP in Mariposa. He brought his family with him -- wife, Patty, son Brandon, and daughter Cari. Both of his children are graduates of Yosemite High School.
Dennis spent the next 15 years working as a CHP and covering the Oakhurst/Eastern Madera County area. In 2003 he retired after 31 years of service. After retiring, he and Patty got real estate licenses and have worked in that industry ever since.
Dennis' achievements include being 1993 past president of the Sierra Sunrise Rotary, earning the title of honorary mayor in 2000, and being named Man of the Year by the Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce in 2002. He also served on the Coarsegold Roundup committee and helped start the Eastern Madera County Junior Livestock Association. He has been on the Sierra Ambulance Board of Directors for 23 years and has been president for 20 years. He has also sat on Yosemite High School committees and the Fire Safe Council.
Fairbanks believes there are two major issues the next sheriff will face. The first is budget constraints and having to do more with less. He said the second has to do with our second amendment rights.
"After sitting on the Grand Jury these past two years, I have seen the future of our county having to deal with our economic and financial situation," Fairbanks said. "We are going to need department heads and elected officials to be able to think out of the box and find ways, even if unpopular, to do more with less. I have ideas to place our sheriff department in that position. Ideas like consolidation and volunteerism just to mention a few.
"As for our second amendment rights, I feel too many of our elected officials, state and federal, are taking a knee jerk reaction to a problem which reaches much further then the ownership of guns and the number of rounds we carry. My stand as a strong advocate of the 2nd amendment is that as long as I am sheriff no law abiding citizen of Madera County will need to worry about having their guns taken away."