Election Center

Benton E. "Ben" Wolfinger

A candidate for Kootenai County Sheriff, Kootenai County in the 2012 Idaho General Election

Party: Republican

Age: 55

City: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Occupation: Sheriff, Kootenai County

Sheriff Ben Wolfinger and his wife Mary live in Coeur d'Alene. They have two sons and one grandson.

In 2012, as a sheriff's major and department spokesman, Ben was elected to succeed Sheriff Rocky Watson, who retired. Ben was hired as a deputy in 1983, at age 21, and has spent 33 years serving in the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office, working in or managed all aspects of the department. A native of Wallace, Idaho, he touts his deep connections to North Idaho.

As sheriff Ben has worked toward expansion of the county jail to ease crowding; filling vacancies and retaining deputies by pushing for better pay and working to improve morale; and promoting community outreach and volunteer work for himself and his employees.

Ben has an Associate of Science degree in law enforcement from North Idaho College, and he has earned advanced and management certificates from the Idaho Peace Officers Standards and Training Academy. He now is being awarded the Executive Certificate, the highest certificate awarded by the Idaho P.O.S.T. Academy. Ben also was a Coeur d’Alene City Councilman from December 2000 to January 2006, and he served on the Governor’s Traffic Safety Commission for about 15 years.

He has worked as a North Idaho College Law Enforcement Program Instructor and is past chairman of the Law Enforcement Advisory Committee. Ben also has been active with the Coeur d’Alene Area Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club, Boy Scouts of America, United Way and Real Life Ministries.

He speaks often of doing his job with a “servant’s heart,” and tells his employees, “You’re not just serving the public, you are a part of the public you serve.” He also said he frequently hears praise for the conduct of his deputies. “Not only are we getting the job done, but we’re also treating people fairly and justly, with the idea we are servants.”


On this race:

Look at unique ways to provide adequate and compliant jail space, such as private jails; address root causes for offenders to reduce recidivism. Be competitive in the job market and work with commissioners to set priorities for levels of required and optional service. Use education and community partnerships to suppress property crime.

Notable: Has worked in, supervised or managed every aspect of the Sheriff’s Department over 29 years. Coeur d’Alene City Council, 2000-2005. Distinguished Citizen of the Year, 2005.

Election results

CandidateVotesPct
Benton E. “Ben” Wolfinger (R) 39,739 72.46%
Bob Foster (I) 8,238 15.02%
Tom Dickson (I) 3,584 6.53%
Joe Bodman (I) 3,284 5.99%

Details & headlines>>

Competitors

Bob Foster

Independent

Tom Dickson

Independent

Joe Bodman

Independent

Contact information


Related coverage

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