EDINBURG – Touting long and padded resumes in law enforcement, candidates for Hidalgo County Sheriff in 2012 have pledged a commitment to improving the quality of life on the border.

Current Sheriff Lupe Treviño, 61, faces a challenge from newcomer Geovani Hernandez, a former police officer and Border Patrol agent who ranks having an "accessible administration for the public" as one his top priorities going into his campaign.

He faces a tough test from Treviño, whosays he carries more than 40 years of law enforcement experience to the job.

Treviño, who began his tenure as Sheriff in 2005 said that in the last five years, his department department has been able to reduce the crime rate by at least 54 percent.

"We have had a very productive seven years," Treviño said. "Just last year alone (2010) we reduced it by 43 percent. We have focused on making thousands of public contacts with the constituents, and have done this through special outreach programs. We have been able to regain that confidence in our Sheriff's office that had been lost in years prior."

Beginning with the Edinburg Police Department from 1973 to 1974, Treviño's resume includes stints with the Austin Police Department 1974-1988, Hidalgo County Criminal District Attorney's Office 1998-2005, Combined Task Force Commander 1990-1992, and HIDTA Task Force Commander 1992-2004

After obtaining his high school diploma from St. Joseph Academy in Laredo, Texas in 1969, Treviño obtained a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from the University of Texas-Pan American in 1990. He received his Masters in Criminal Justice from UTPA in 2000.

Since 2000, he has been a Criminal Justice Lecturer at UTPA, and a Criminal Justice instructor at South Texas College.

"I am the only candidate in this sheriff's race that has proven to be trustworthy, who has demonstrated integrity, and has shown that I am a credible leader," Trevino said. "This is not a time for on the job training. We live in very difficult, very challenging times. It takes a man of my experience, my formal education going to real universities getting undergraduate and graduate degrees to be able to be the most effective sheriff (Hidalgo) has ever had."

In running against Treviño, Hernandez says he not only draws from his experience as a police officer in the Valley, but his experience as a U.S. Border Patrol Agent, and international police officer.

Working within the United Nations, Hernandez, 38, is a former Acting Director of Criminal Investigations in Kosovo, under the Direction of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. He has also served as an international border police advisor in Afghanistan, and United Nations Internal Affairs Investigator working for the UN Stabilization Mission In Haiti.

A product of Weslaco High School, Hernandez holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Police Science from Ottawa University, and a Master of Science Psychology from Capella University. He is currently attending school for his Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology at Capella.

"It's all the organized crime on the border," Hernandez said when asked about some of the most important things facing Hidalgo County. "We need to see reality. We need to face the challenge without being afraid. We need to move forward to do what we need to do. I'm ready to do my job. I'm ready to be out there with the public. I'm ready to serve. I'm ready to face the crimes we're faced with."