Clallam County sheriff to run for re-election

By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Bill Benedict will seek a third term as Clallam County sheriff.

Benedict, 63, of Sequim was first elected in 2006 and ran unopposed in 2010.

“I just enjoy the work, and I think I'm making a positive difference,” Benedict said Monday.

“I'd like to continue doing what I'm doing.”

If re-elected, Benedict said he will continue to look for ways for the sheriff's office to become more efficient.

“I still think we're under tremendous pressure in the entire law and justice system to make it affordable,” Benedict said.

“The cost of law and justice is consuming more and more of the county's budget. I want to look at ways that I can minimize that.”

Benedict sees opportunities in partnerships with other law enforcement agencies of the North Olympic Peninsula.

“One of the things I want to work on are agreements with tribes and giving them general authority on the reservations,” he said. “That's something I think I can bring to fruition in a year a two.”

The Sheriff's Office has been cross-training with city police departments for several years and enjoys “incredible amounts of cooperation” with local, state, federal and tribal authorities, Benedict said.

“I'm very happy with the relationship we have with our executive branch and legislative branch, the county commissioners,” Benedict added.

“I appreciate the fact that they've been very supportive of all matters of the sheriff's office.”

Benedict oversees a department that was twice accredited by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.

The office was first accredited for its professional standards in 2009 and re-accredited last year.

To achieve accreditation or re-accreditation, an agency must comply with 132 professional standards for law enforcement, covering a range of topics from evidence storage and handling to best-practices procedures for training and use-of-force policies.

The Sheriff's Office has 102 employees and a 120-bed jail.

Filing week for the Aug. 5 primary is May 12-16.

If only two candidates file — Benedict and one opponent, in this case — they will automatically move to the Nov. 4 general election.

No other candidate has announced a run for sheriff, which carries a salary of $97,200 per year.

Benedict became a sheriff's deputy in 1995 and was promoted to sergeant before becoming sheriff. He beat incumbent Sheriff Joe Martin to win the job eight years ago.

Prior to his arrival, Benedict flew Navy fighters as a flight officer for 22 years.

He took a four-year break from county employment to fly commercial airplanes for Trans World Airlines before it was purchased by American Airlines in 2001.

Benedict joked that he “feels back in the game” when he flies his own small aircraft with friends.

In addition to aviation, Benedict is active in the Sequim Sunrise Rotary.

He vacations in Hawaii and follows the Wolverines teams of his alma mater, the University of Michigan.

Other Clallam County positions up for election this year are held by county Commissioner Mike Doherty, Prosecuting Attorney William Payne, Community Development Director Sheila Roark Miller, Auditor Patty Rosand, Treasurer Selinda Barkhuis, Assessor Pam Rushton, District Court 1 Judge Rick Porter, District Court 2 Judge John Doherty and Clallam County Public Utility District Commissioner Hugh Haffner.

In addition, Clallam County voters will select a 15-member Charter Review Commission, which will examine the county charter and propose amendments.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 15. 2014 11:22AM
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