Tharp lauded the NLPOA for its increased visibility in recent
years. Many of the group’s members volunteered as off-duty
deputies to provide security at last summer’s MidWest LatinoFest,
just one example of their dedication.
“Their volunteerism in the community—they’re always doing something
for others,” Tharp said. “I think it’s a good organization.”
Tharp estimated there are nearly 20 Latino deputies and corrections
officers within the ranks of the sheriff’s office. He believes
their visible presence only can help the fragile trust factor
between Latinos and law enforcement going forward.
“I think it’s so very important for the Latino community that they
see the officers coming into law enforcement when there are
conversations going on about the undocumented, as well as other
conversations,” he said. “I think it’s very important that the
Latino community see their own family members have become law
Tharp is seeking to increase that bond with the Latino community
when he becomes the next Lucas County sheriff. The Democrat is
running unopposed in the upcoming election.
The 64-year old deputy has been with the Lucas County Sheriff’s
Office for 14 years, following 25 years of service with the
Toledo Police Dept. Tharp currently heads the administrative
section of the sheriff’s office, which includes court security
and uniformed bailiffs, the civil section—which includes
sheriff’s real estate sales, school resource officers and the
The sheriff’s office currently has nearly 500 employees, including
sworn deputies, corrections officers, and jail medical staff.
But the department could not afford to replace between 50 and 60
deputies who have retired in recent years.
Tharp openly admitted he was surprised when he learned early in the
campaign that there would be no other candidates running for
sheriff. He has taken nothing for granted, however, placing
campaign signs throughout the community.
“I thought there would be others interested in running for the
office,” he said. “There was conversation over the years about
others (even fellow deputies within the sheriff’s office)
interested in running. I think some were talking about it, but
weren’t totally committed to doing that.”
After 28 years with the county, Sheriff James Telb plans to retire
at year’s end to spend more time with his family, including his
“He certainly put a lot of things in motion (over that time). I’m
not looking to make major changes, just tighten up a few things,
maybe add a few things,” Tharp said. “We’ll continue on with a
few things that he had either talked about or started, make them
better and move on like that.”
While it’s too early to call Tharp the sheriff-elect, he already
plans to increase his visibility among the law enforcement
agency’s operations spread across the county— from the jail in
downtown Toledo to road patrols and substations in the
“I’m looking forward to working with the staff, perhaps a little
more one-on-one than has been done in the past,” he said. “I
want to be available—coming into the corrections center at night
and on holidays to support them.”
Sheriff Telb never replaced his chief deputy Ken Perry when he retired a
few years ago. Tharp intends to leave that office vacant as
well, what he termed an administrative budget cut at the top, as
well as a vote of confidence in the capabilities of his other
“I think there are a lot of people in place where the
responsibility can be delegated throughout different offices,
the heads of our divisions that are there,” he explained. “We’re
trying to do more with less from a money aspect. We are hurting.
It’s a common-sense approach to tighten up our belts at the
Lucas County Commissioners, who hold the budgetary purse strings to
the sheriff’s department, have issued quarterly disbursements to
the agency over the past couple of years. Tharp stated “we know
what we need to operate” financially and intends to be open to
ideas from the commissioners and hopes to forge a positive
The start of the New Year will be exciting for Tharp both
personally and professionally. In addition to being sworn in as
the new sheriff, he will become a grandpa for the first time.
Married 31 years and the father of two, his son and
daughter-in-law are expecting twins—a boy and girl—in February.
Tharp eventually hopes to find time to visit them in South
Carolina, where his son is a staff attorney in the Air Force JAG
“We’ll see how things are going for them. We don’t want to bombard
them when they have the little ones,” he said. “We’ll play it by
Luis González, president of the National Latino Peace Officers Association,
Toledo Chapter, said that the group endorsed Tharp.