Hendry County residents will pick their Democratic choice for sheriff next week during the Aug. 30 primary election.
Steve Whidden has been Hendry County’s sheriff for nearly eight years. He said when he first took office, the economy was really bad. But Whidden said he still managed to increase the amount of deputies on county roads without spending too much. The sheriff said he’s also proud that the crime rate went down more than 28 percent between January and June of this year.
Whidden was reelected in 2012, making him the first consecutively elected Hendry County sheriff in about 30 years. He said that means his residents trust him.
"I pretty much know, I’d say, a good majority of the citizens that we have in the county and I’m very active. I’m always out with the community doing something," he said. "And the people, when they trust their sheriff, they know that that trust filters down through the deputies."
Sheriff Whidden’s challenger in the race is Johnny Lee Jackson-- both are running as Democrats. Jackson did not respond to repeated calls for comment. The Caloosa Belle reports Jackson is retired with nearly 30 years of law enforcement experience —mostly with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
The winner of the Democratic primary will go up against non-party affiliated candidate Ricky Garcia in November.