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Iron County Seeks Republican Officer for Sheriff

Iron County Seeks Republican Officer for Sheriff

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CEDAR CITY, Utah (AP) -- Iron County is looking for a Republican law enforcement officer to become the new sheriff.

The post was declared vacant Monday by county commissioners, who wrote the county's Republican Central Committee, seeking three candidates to succeed former Sheriff David "Dude" W. Benson.

Benson resigned on Aug. 27, as part of a plea agreement in which he pleaded guilty to pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and misuse of public money.

Interim Sheriff Mark Gower has filled the position since Benson went on paid administrative leave May 14, 2003, and will remain in that position until the commissioners appoint a new sheriff.

"If I go back to my previous assignment (which was detective), I'll have no ill feelings," Gower said Monday. "I'm happy to serve where needed."

Keith Seegmiller, county Republican Party vice chairman, said the only requirement for the sheriff's position is that the individual be a category I, POST-certified, peace officer.

"We'd give preference to those already in the department (Iron County Sheriff's Office) and that are local," he said. "It's an elected position, so they have to be a registered Republican."

The central committee tentatively set Oct. 1 as the application deadline and Oct. 7 for the central committee to name the three candidates, from whom the county commissioners will pick the new sheriff.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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