The results of the hotly contested Adams County Sheriff’s race are in. Here is the unofficial vote tally.
Ryan Zollman, (i): 1,384
Thomas Watts: 774
“We’re just going to keep moving forward to make it as safe of a community as we can,” Zollman said when the results were in. He also thanked the community for supporting him.
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Sheriff Zollman, 38, has been with the Adams County Sheriff’s Office for almost 14 years and was running for his second term in office. He ran as a Republican.
Watts, 60, a retired Nevada sheriff’s deputy who moved to Idaho four years ago, had never run for office before. He ran as an independent.
The sheriff’s office employs about 25 people and has a budget of about $1.3 million. The sheriff’s salary is $56,000.
It was a heated race. Zollman faced intense public scrutiny and criticism over the past year, following the fatal shooting of rancher Jack Yantis by two deputies on Nov. 1, 2015. State and federal prosecutors said they found insufficient evidence to file charges against the deputies, who no longer work at the sheriff’s office.
Watts said he planned to run for sheriff even before the Yantis shooting because he felt he could make some changes for the better. He said he wanted to see more training for deputies and more deputy interaction with the public. One of his ideas was to recruit one or more retired deputies from out of state, who have pensions and wouldn’t have to depend on low pay, to work for the department and provide training for the newer deputies.