Hodge enters sheriff race

Jeff Hodge has announced that he will run for the office of Crook County Sheriff at the upcoming elections. He touts almost two decades of experience and dedication to law enforcement as the foundation of his candidacy.

Jeff Hodge   (Courtesy photo)

Jeff Hodge (Courtesy photo)

“Our current sheriff is retiring and I feel I have the knowledge and experience to fill that position,” he says.

“I believe that, with my education, training, 19 years of experience and commitment to Crook County, I am a qualified and dedicated candidate for this position.”

Hodge was first recruited by Sheriff Steve Stahla in 1997 to serve as Jail Administrator. Since then, he says, he has been promoted through the ranks to serve the county in several facets of law enforcement, including patrol officer, jail administrator, division captain and K-9 handler.

“I have a total of 19 years of law enforcement experience. I have been afforded many opportunities to learn, grow and develop myself as a leader in the law enforcement profession,” he says.

“If I am selected to serve as the next Crook County Sheriff, I will use these skills to build upon the successes of my predecessor and to develop new strategies to enhance the safety of the Crook County citizens.”

If Hodge is elected, one of his goals will be to continue to ensure the safety of the county’s youth. Law enforcement’s number one priority should always be to protect our future and greatest asset, our children, he says.

“I would like us to get together and formulate a multi-agency response plan for active intruders into the school systems and move forward with the projects and plans we have going now,” Hodge explains.

“A standardized, trained response will make our schools safer and more secure for our children.”

Hodge would also research technology-based communication systems to enhance public notifications and communication. “The citizens of Crook County deserve to be, and should be confident that they will be made aware and notified of any emergencies and happenings quickly,” he says.

“It is important to me to manage and maintain a proactive and professional law enforcement organization that is dedicated to the county’s needs. I will continue to maintain fiscal responsibility, transparency and accountability with our allocated finances.”

The most important asset that the Sheriff’s Office possesses, he adds, is the men and women who perform the day-to-day activities of the organization.

“I would like to make sure that the citizens know I would maintain an open door policy,” he continues.

“Whether the citizens of Crook County have a problem, complaint, suggestion or observation that they feel should be fostered by the Sheriff’s Office, I would like to encourage an open discussion.”

Hodge believes that, as the county and its municipalities continue to grow, the Sheriff’s Office will need to progress.

“In order for us to carry forward with what the Sheriff’s Office has done in the past, we obviously need to move forward and I have the qualifications and the knowledge to move the office forward,” he explains.

“Sundance is growing, Crook County is growing and we’re going to need to evolve too. I have the knowledge and experience to provide that that to the office and the county citizens.”

Hodge was born in Montana and grew up in a small farming and ranching community. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the US Air Force and served from 1988 to 1992, in both Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

“After an honorable discharge, I entered the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy and started my career with the Moorcroft Police Department,” he says.

Hodge lives in Sundance with wife Darice and son Lane. An active member of the community, he is the current president of the Bearlodge Snowmobile Association, coaches youth football and basketball and serves as the Sundance Little League Baseball manager.

“The future is our youth and I strongly encourage positive interaction between our youth and law enforcement,” he says.

“I would be honored to serve as your sheriff. I am dedicated to ensuring a safe and secure future for the citizens of Crook County,” he says.

“I think I’ve shown my dedication to Crook County – I’ve been here for 19 years, working in law enforcement. I’ve been committed, I’m fair and impartial and I think that should stand out.”

Hodge notes that he is appreciative of Sheriff Stahla for his years of dedicated service and wishes him all the best as he embarks on new endeavors.