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Kootenai County sheriff candidates

Thu., May 3, 2012

John Green

AGE: Not given

OCCUPATION: Attorney, former deputy sheriff.

EXPERIENCE: Private practice attorney since 1993, previous career in Texas law enforcement, including working as a law enforcement educator and consultant.

TOP CAMPAIGN PROMISE: “I will put (my) training to use to help protect the citizens of Kootenai County.”

TOP THREE ISSUES: (according to website)

• Manage jail overcrowding by improving inmate classification.

• Implement professional standards to increase deputy retention.

• Identify waste within the department and save tax dollars.

Keith Hutcheson

AGE: 44

OCCUPATION: Recently resigned as Coeur d’Alene Tribe chief of police to run for sheriff. Current chairman of the Kootenai County Fire and Rescue Commission.

EXPERIENCE: Coeur d’Alene Tribe chief of police, 2005-’11. Elected three times to the Kootenai County Fire and Rescue Commission, serving since 2002. Seven years with the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department (1997-2005), serving as deputy, detective and canine handler. Firefighter in Prince George’s County, Md., 1989-’95. Two failed campaigns for the Post Falls City Council.

TOP CAMPAIGN PROMISE: “I will add a fresh perspective and a new set of eyes to the department.”


• Remodel current buildings to handle jail crowding instead of expanding the current facility.

• Employee retention, increase pay and morale.

• Improve technology and increase transparency, such as using Facebook and Twitter to inform the public and go to electronic ticketing to save money and increase efficiency and accuracy.

Benton ‘Ben’ Wolfinger

AGE: 50

OCCUPATION: Major in the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department, overseeing Support Services and acting as the public information officer.

EXPERIENCE: Worked at Kootenai County Sheriff Department for 29 years. Served on Coeur d’Alene City Council, 2000-’05.

TOP CAMPAIGN PROMISE: “Do the best I possibly can to bring integrity, common sense and service to the office and work with the (county) commission to help resolve internal issues.”


• Retention of deputies and staff by increasing pay.

• Expand jail to provide more maximum-security cells and plan better for the future so taxpayers aren’t caught in this situation again.

• Community outreach: Encourage employees to volunteer and get involved in nonuniform activities so residents see sheriff employees as humans.

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