Anthony Skeens, The Triplicate

Del Norte County Sheriff Dean Wilson plans to run for re-election next year in hopes of becoming one of Del Norte's longest-serving sheriffs.

The decision represents a change of heart due to what he sees as pressing issues facing the county.

Early in his current term he wasn't planning on running again, but over the past six or seven months he's reconsidered, Wilson said.

His office is going through a transitional period in which a few managers have retired, and more are expected to in the coming months, Wilson said.

"Having that much turnover is very critical to our operations, losing that much of the seasoned personnel, so much of the institutional knowledge, that's hard to replace," said Wilson.

He said making the "right choices" for who to promote is critical for the future of the office.

He said he also wants to continue working to keep certain roads open that might be closed once the Smith River National Recreation Area Restoration and Motorized Travel Management Project is enacted.

He also has been working with the U.S. Forest Service and the state to keep the Red Mountain transmitter site running in order to maintain radio communications in remote areas of the county.

He is working with federal representatives to gain traction with the Federal Communications Commission to get exemptions for the site in order to expand bandwidth, Wilson said.

"We need to find a resolution that works for us and provides the coverage we need," said Wilson.

He said the public is at risk when emergency personnel aren't able to use radio communication. At times, responders have had to resort to using their cell phones because radio communications don't work as a result of a narrow-band conversion implemented by the FCC.

"I feel it's really good for me to try to stick around and see these things through," said Wilson. "I decided it would probably be prudent to run again and hopefully the voters will support that effort ... to move into a direction I think is positive for the community as a whole."

Wilson won the office in 2002, replacing Jim Maready, and was re-elected in 2006 and 2010.

Wilson also is heavily involved with a local chapter of the Tea Party Patriots.

"I'm very content in doing what I do here," said Wilson. "I have no further political aspirations other than to do this job."

The sheriff's post will be on the primary ballot in June.

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