After nearly a decade Benton County will have a new sheriff. Voters elected Kelley Cradduck to the post this week.
After running for the office three times, Cradduck won this week. He says he's bringing a new philosophy to his new post.
"I'm very high on specialized units,” Cradduck says. “Traffic units, crime suppression units, gang units, domestic violence units I think that you can become very proficient when you're focused on one issue or one problem."
While Cradduck brings 15 years of law enforcement experience, he admits there will be a learning curve. But he's working to make a smooth transition. Cradduck will be taking over an office with many longtime employees, but says there shouldn't be concern.
"First, I'd like to bring a level of calmness inside the department,” Cradduck says. “I think there’s some people who are worried about their jobs and worried about their future and what I want them to do is not. Just worry about working and everything will work out."
Cradduck says he'll be focused on building trust with employees and the community. He says the Benton County Jail leads the state in lawsuits and it's something the county just can't afford.
Cradduck plans to make add a commissary and make policy changes regarding inmate treatment.
Another focus will be drugs.
"I do intend to increase our meth lab investigators,” Cradduck says. “And also cooperation with other departments. I think if were sharing information and working together then were much better off than trying to tackle that problem alone."
Cradduck says he wants the community to know he's here to help.
"I not only should serve the public but I also should serve the people inside of that building,” Cradduck says. “And so that’s what I want them to know is that I have a servants mentality. And that we'll do everything that we can to make sure they're taken care of."
Cradduck will officially take office on January 1st.