Chowchilla's nearly 10-year Chief of Police, Jay Varney, 52, has announced his candidacy for Madera County Sheriff/Coroner.
"My 30 year career in law enforcement has been characterized by lifelong growth in leadership positions, assignments, and responsibilities," stated Varney. "I remain excited to be involved as a leader serving our citizens through the local, regional and state law enforcement community. I intend to apply that enthusiasm to the position of Madera County Sheriff."
Varney has had a diverse law enforcement career that began in Dallas, Texas, where he was promoted to sergeant in 1990 after finishing first out of more than 400 applicants. He was assigned to lead a felony crime unit in 1991. In 1993, Varney and his family returned to his hometown of Lansing, Mich., where he went to work for the Lansing Police Department.
In 2000, Varney became a licensed presenter for the Pointman Leadership Institute, a global presenter of leadership and integrity training.
Although the relocations required starting again as a police officer, Varney attained the rank of lieutenant with assignments that included patrol/detective lieutenant, human resources lieutenant, and K9 unit lieutenant prior to his departure for Chowchilla to serve as Chowchilla's top cop in March 2004.
In addition to his chief of police duties, he also served as Chowchilla's acting city administrator for nearly two years during some challenging financial times.
Varney sees the three top law enforcement issues in the county as drug production and the associated crimes and threats to citizen safety, improving patrol coverage and response times, and a growing domestic gang and cartel presence in Madera County.
"I have always stressed utilization of the skills, knowledge and abilities of current staff in problem solving," Varney said. "Strategies that I would be implementing would include continued and enhanced countywide and region wide cooperation, technological improvements including use of predictive policing models for staffing patrol, use of Level 1 reserves to assist patrol staffing, and reviewing the current hiring practices and compensation packages to insure that we attract the greatest number of high quality long term employees we can."
Varney believes some of those employee candidates are here in Madera County.
"We need to be implementing hiring strategies that assist them in seeking a career in law enforcement here," he said.
Varney has a Bachelor's degree from Michigan State University and is currently finishing his Master's Degree in Criminology from California State University, Fresno. He holds an Executive Certificate from the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training.
Varney is a graduate of the prestigious FBI National Academy, where he earned a graduate certificate from the University of Virginia in Criminal Justice Education.
"I see my current role as leading the team members of the Chowchilla Police Department as well as promoting cooperation between other city departments, school districts and our business community in making Chowchilla a great place to live and work and I intend to bring this same spirit of cooperation and collaboration to the office of Madera County Sheriff/Coroner," Varney said.
Varney and his wife Amy have been married 28 years, have two children and reside in Chowchilla.
Varney joins the race with undersheriff Michael Salvador, Oakhurst realtor Dennis Fairbanks, and Greg Noll, a detective sargent with the Fresno Police Department.