By Sean Rabé
Less than a week after Sheriff Mike Prizmich announced his retirement plans, two men have thrown their hats into the ring to be Amador County´s next sheriff.
Jackson City Councilman and Sheriff Sgt. Drew Stidger and Amador County native son and California Bureau of Investigation Chief Martin A. Ryan announced Monday they will run for Prizmich´s seat as Amador County Sheriff in 2006. Ryan has already received the support of Prizmich in the race.
“Martin has the most management experience of any candidate locally,” Prizmich said Monday afternoon. “He´s the kind of guy we need to move the department forward into the future. He´s very articulate and caring and is well-connected in the county and understands the county and its needs. He´s seen it develop. He´s the best of the old and the new put together and I would support him in a second.”
Ryan currently lives in Sacramento but said he plans to move to Amador County before he formally files his candidacy papers.
Martin graduated from Jackson High School in 1969. His parents are former Amador County Superior Court Judge Martin Ryan and Mary Ryan.
Ryan currently serves as bureau chief for the California Bureau of Investigation, which is part of the Department of Justice. His law enforcement career began in 1975 when he served as chief investigator for the Amador County District Attorney´s Office.
After serving in that position for six years he began working at the CBI as a special agent in 1981. He has risen through the ranks of that organization to his current position.
Serving as Amador County´s Sheriff is part of the Ryan history. His grandfather, George Lucot, served as the county sheriff for 40 years.
“I grew up with this in my family,” he said. “I´ve thought about this, dreamed about this for 20-something years.”
As far as what his strengths would be as the county´s next sheriff, Ryan said his experience at the managerial levels cannot be beat.
“I´ve dealt with most of the sheriffs throughout the state at one point or another through CBI,” he said. “I´ve been able to observe their operations and can take their best ideas and incorporate those here.”
Ryan said his experience with CBI and the large-scale investigations he has worked on will help him “enhance the organization” as well. Additionally, he said that team building and partnering with the other law enforcement agencies in the county would also be a priority.
“There is an opportunity for me to bring my experience at the state level to the Amador County Sheriff´s Office and work closely with the great men and women who work there,” Ryan said. “I have 30 years´ experience in this business and to be the sheriff of Amador County is the top rung for me, despite the level I am at now. I want a chance to give back to this county.”
Ryan has been married to his wife Teresa for five years. He has two children from a previous marriage: Joe, 20 and Jamie, 23.
Stidger said he has always had the aspiration to become sheriff of Amador County. “I voiced that when I was testing for sergeant,” he said. “I planned on running farther down the road in my career, but I was approached by several people in the department who encouraged me to run. They feel it´s time for a change.”
Stidger said people from other law enforcement agencies encouraged him to run as well.
Stidger´s 22-year law enforcement career began as a deputy sheriff with the Los Angeles Sheriff´s Department in 1983. He served in various positions in that agency until 1993, when he and his wife moved to Amador County to find a more “suitable place to raise our family,” he said.
Stidger served as a police officer with the city of Jackson for two years before he joined the Amador County Sheriff´s Office in 1995. He currently holds the rank of sergeant.
Stidger was elected to the Jackson City Council in 2004.
He said he is running for sheriff because he wants to make a difference in his community.
“I want to bring a cohesive, unified law enforcement community to Amador County,” he said. “Not only have people in the law enforcement community said it´s time for a change, but other agencies have said the same thing as well. Mike has done an excellent job as sheriff, but it is just time.”
Stidger said that a recent meeting was held to discuss viable sheriff candidates with Amador County California Highway Patrol officers, the county´s three police departments and investigators from the DA´s Office. He said that meeting resulted in voices of support for his candidacy, which further supported his decision to run.
As for his competition, Stidger said Ryan was a good man and that with both of them in the race there could be nothing but positive results for the county.
“He´s got the experience on the administration side, I´ve got the experience on the street and sheriff department side,” Stidger said. “So the ultimate winner will be the people of Amador County.”
Stidger said he has some concerns about Ryan´s lack of presence in Amador County, however. “I worry that he hasn´t been in touch with this community for some time,” he said.
“As Mike indicated in his press release, the people of Amador County need to choose wisely when voting for their next sheriff,” he said. “I think it´s time for us to have a cohesive, unified law enforcement community where we can pull all of the county´s resources together. No one agency is better than the other.”
Stidger lives in Jackson with his wife Christy, who is a sergeant with the Jackson Police Department. They have two daughters, Victoria, 6 and Stephanie, 5.
Printed with kind permission from The Amador Ledger Dispatch