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Six counties vote for sheriff

4 incumbents keep position, while 2 are newly elected

Posted: November 3, 2010 at 4:54 a.m.

— Voters in six Northwest Arkansas counties on Tuesday were asked to choose their sheriff for the next two years, where four incumbents were winning based on unofficial results.

New sheriffs were elected in Franklin and Sebastian counties, where one incumbent was ousted in the Democratic primary and the other chose not to seek reelection.

FRANKLIN COUNTY

Anthony Boen, 40, may well be the next Franklin County sheriff after defeating the incumbent in the Democratic primary and leading independent Frank Cauldwell early in the general election.

Unofficial results were:

Boen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,433 Cauldwell . . . . . . . . . . . . . 674

“Man it feels great so far,” Boen said of the early returns. “It’s not in yet, but we’re doing pretty good so far.”

Boen vowed to increasethe level of professionalism of the office that has been occupied by Reed Haynes for eight years. Boen takes office in January.

Pursuing grants to pay for new equipment and training for deputies and dispatchers is something Boen said will be a focus of his administration. He said his experience as a business owner has prepared him to take on the largely administrative role of sheriff.

Boen said he has a vested interest in the county - his three children.

SCOTT COUNTY

Scott County Sheriff Cody Carpenter, 38, won a fourth term by holding off challenger Jimmy “Dobber” Yandell.

“When you try to do the very best job you can for the people of this county, it pays off,” Carpenter said. “The people recognize good work, and we’re going to continue to do a good job for them.”

Unofficial results were:

Carpenter . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,177 Yandell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .874

Carpenter of Waldron said he continued his tradition of staying away from the courthouse on election night. Instead, he said he stayed home with his family and waited for his people to phone him with updates.

“Normally I don’t show up,” he said. “It’s kind of a routine of mine, for whatever strange reason that is. I just kind of sit back and let the guys tell me, and we go on from there.”

Carpenter plans to continue an emphasis on community oriented policing in his next term. A self-described progressive, he alsoplans to keep education a priority.

In previous terms, Carpenter had deputies become certified so they can train new recruits and neighboring officers in police procedures and law. He also established a K-9 unit and SpecialWeapons and Tactics team.

Carpenter said efficient operation of the jail will continue to be a priority.

Voters last year approved a 1 percent sales tax, on the condition that county officials cut the property tax in half. The county operated without a jail for most of last year because voters only approved the tax to build it, not operate it.

Carpenter said the jail is being operated efficiently and within the budget and it will stay that way.

BOONE COUNTY

Boone County Sheriff Danny Hickman, 55, won a seventh term by defeating his Republican challenger Jim Trammell.

Unofficial results were:

Hickman . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8,846 Trammell . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5,560

“I’m excited and just want to thank the people of Boone County for allowing me to serve them,” Hickman said. “It’s been a long hard race, but compared to all the other races in the nation we’ve had a pretty clean race.”

Hickman of Harrison said he plans to continue working with other agencies in fighting drugs and will work with the state’s new congressional delegation in hopes of increasing grants to fund drug task force officers.

Hickman said that he is ready to address any issues that may arise if a ballot initiative passes allowing packaged liquor sales in the county. He said his office will have to wait and see whether there is an increase in the frequency of drunken driving arrests.

“We’ll have to gear up for that the first of the year,” he said. “If it brings in more DWIs we’ll be prepared for it.”

CARROLL COUNTY

Carroll County Sheriff Bob Grudek, 67, won a third term by defeating GreenForest Police Chief John L. Bailey.

Unofficial results were:

Grudek . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4,323 Bailey. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,675

Grudek of Eureka Springs is ready to continue what he started four years ago. Education is central to that goal, he said.

Transforming the sheriff’s office into a place where people can make careers for themselves is important, Grudek said. He said he will try to squeeze money for training out of the budget, because as of now only detectives are guaranteed extra training.

Messages left for Grudek were not returned as of press time.

NEWTON COUNTY

Newton County Sheriff Keith Slape, 44, won a third term by defeating fellow independent, Danny Clayborn, based on unofficial results.

Unofficial results were:

Slape. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,563 Clayborn. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .832

“I’m pretty good,” Slape said, of his lead with all but three precincts reporting. “There’s not enough for him to overcome.”

Slape of Compton and his deputies spearheaded the investigation of a Mount Judea man who plotted to kidnap Slape’s son. The conspiracy was thwarted and ended up adding time to David Middleton’s sentence.

The initial investigation was part of an overarching plan to combat methamphetamine, Slape said. He said drugs are at the root of most crimes in the county and he’s ready to keep sending drug dealers to prison.

Slape said he planned on staying in his office Tuesday and waiting for election returns, which he hopedwould stay the same through the end of the race.

SEBASTIAN COUNTY

Sebastian County sheriff ’s Capt. Bill Hollenbeck, 49, was leading Chief Deputy Tommy A. Young, 56, with nearly 50 percent of precincts reporting.

“We’re half way there with it,” Hollenbeck said. “We’re feeling pretty good with it, but it’s been a long night.”

The two were competing to succeed retiring Sheriff Frank Atkinson.

Unofficial results were:

Hollenbeck. . . . . . . . . . . 11,924 Young. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7,406

Computer problems caused a delay in processing returns and only 44 of 91 precincts had been reported as of 11:45 p.m.

“We’ve made it through campaigning for over a year and a half, luckily we’re able to handle a few more hours,” Hollenbeck said.

Hollenbeck led the county’s Criminal Investigation Division and Special Weapons and Tactics team until taking leave of absence to run for office. He’ll takes office in January.

Solving the myriad of problems at the county jail will be a priority, Hollenbeck said, during the campaign. The jail has been plagued by problems, most recently the slaying of an inmate. Another inmate has been charged.

Updating the inmate tracking system and finding ways to reduce the jail population will be a priority, Hollenbeck said. He said he’ll consider using ankle monitors and alternative sentencing programs.

Hollenbeck said he looks forward to working with the current administration in the coming weeks, but not until after taking a few days off.

“I’m very lucky and humbled to have the support from the community, from our department and all the workers that made this campaign such a major successes,” he said. “So I’m very blessed.”

Northwest Arkansas, Pages 11 on 11/03/2010

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