BOISE, Idaho — Three candidates are vying to replace former Ada County Sheriff Steve Bartlett after he abruptly and unexpectedly resigned at the start of the month.
On Wednesday, the Ada County Board of Commissioners interviewed the three candidates in an open hearing to learn more about their experience, and vision for the sheriff's office. The hearing took place at the courthouse in Boise.
The three candidates include Doug Traubel, Mike Chilton, and Matt Clifford. Traubel, a former investigator at the Ada County Prosecuting Attorney's Office was up first.
The first question came from Commissioner Rod Beck and asked Traubel if he wanted to retract any public output he wrote on social media and articles in the past.
“I would say certainly there’s been times where I should of written it a little more carefully. I would say that, but I don’t backtrack my positions,” Traubel said.
Commissioner Ryan Davidson asked Traubel about criminal justice reform and how he would keep officers accountable.
“As a leader you need make certain that your deputies understand you will be held accountable at the same time you need to feel confident doing their job. The nature of law enforcement is confrontational,” he said.
The second candidate is Mike Chilton, Boise Dev reported Chilton used to work for the sheriff’s office from 1994 to 2010.
At the start of Chilton’s interview, Commissioners wanted to know why he departed from the sheriff’s office and what he would do to increase morale within the department.
During the meeting Commissioner Kendra Kenyon asked Chilton to address the board why he refused to sign a waiver for a background check and had only submitted a partial waiver. Chilton said he took the original waiver to three attorneys to review it.
“They all said it was overreaching,” Chilton said. “The promise to dox everything to the public was very concerning. I’m not opposed, the waiver that I send you allowed you to look at all personal, background, investigation everything that you asked for just ask not to dox it to the public.”
The third candidate is Matt Clifford current Eagle Police Chief. He told commissioners, he took several roles throughout his law enforcement career from jail, patrol deputy, K-9 handler, and held supervisory positions.
Commissioner Kenyon wanted to know his stance on officers using social media personally and professionally.
“I’ve always said social media is a blessing and curse. I like social media to promote the good things that we are doing. it’s also a good way to be transparent and get your message out there immediately and let the public know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it,” Clifford said.
Clifford also said he was in support of the jail expansion.
“It’s math we want to keep those programs going. The CTC, probation to make sure we keep from recidivism from coming back to the jail. Those are important programs. I would like to see them grow. I know pre-trial releases are going to grow. But then again you can only put so many inmates in a box before the lawsuits come. So where do you want to pay for it? You want a lawsuit for overcrowding or put money into the jail expansion,” Clifford said.
The chosen candidate will serve as sheriff for one year and will have to run in the 2022 election to keep the post. Commissioners are expected to name the new sheriff on Friday, July 2 at 3 p.m.