Change Address

VOTE411 Voter Guide

Benton County Sheriff

Salary; $123,938Term: 1 year unexpiredThe county sheriff is the chief executive officer and conservator of the peace of the county. The sheriff has a number of duties relating to: (1) law enforcement and public safety, (2) jails and confinement facilities, and (3) civil functions for the court system. Counties have the option of creating a department of corrections to be in charge of the county jail rather than the sheriff. Many county sheriffs are involved in county emergency services functions, and a sheriff may serve as the Director of Emergency Services for the county. Most employees in the sheriff's office are covered by a statutory civil service system establishing a merit system for employment.
  • Candidate picture

    Jerry Hatcher (Rep) Benton County Sheriff Jerry Hatcher

  • Candidate picture

    Ken Lattin (Rep) Benton County Sheriff

Change Candidates

Biographical Information

Why did you decide to run for this position?

What are the three major issues facing the Sheriff's office today?

Of the three, which one is the most urgent?

How will you work with the prosecuting attorney's office?

Phone (509) 942-4474
Party Preference Republican
YouTube Video
Town where you live Kennewick
Experience (300 characters max) I started my Law Enforcement Career in 1988 and have 15 years in Command Level positions within the Sheriff’s Office (Lieutenant, Captain, Undersheriff, and Sheriff). Having Command Level Experience in Law Enforcement and Corrections is critical to being an effective Sheriff.
I have worked my entire law enforcement career for the Benton County Sheriff’s Office preparing to become your Sheriff. I have been promoted to every rank within the Department, starting as a Deputy Sheriff, Corporal, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, Undersheriff and am currently serving as the Interim Sheriff. Each of these ranks has increased responsibility and has given me the knowledge and experience I need to be an effective Sheriff for the citizens of Benton County. In addition, to my professional experience, I prepared myself academically, I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Leadership Management, I have obtained my First Level Supervision, Middle Management, and Executive level Certifications from the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, I am a graduate of the Law Enforcement Command College, and a Graduated of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, VA.
Gang activity within Benton County. Gang activity and crimes can have a devastating effect on a Community’s Public Safety as well as a Communities Economic Development; to combat the rising gang activity, we have put together a proactive Gang Team designed to target individuals engaged in criminal activity.

Mental Health illness within our Jail System. Incarcerating individuals suffering from mental illness is a State wide problem. The State Mental Health Facilities are full so consequently this problem gets pushed down to the Counties.

Incarceration Cost: I have worked closely with our County Commissioners, County Administrator and City Leaders on stabilizing the impacts of Incarceration cost by increasing our contracts with the Washington DOC and U.S. Marshal for housing inmates. This shift in our inmate population will reduce our incarceration cost by over $2.0 million County wide.
While we are currently working all three of these important issues. As your Sheriff, my top priority is public safety and keeping our communities safe. Combating Gang activity and its associated violence is a top priority for me. Gangs are very pervasive and cannot and will not be allowed to take over our community. We have developed a three prong strategy to deal with the gang problem. 1. Suppression; our Gang Team aggressively tracks and arrests gang members involved in criminal activities. 2. Intervention; we work to identify kids at risk of becoming gang members and assist with their parents and the schools to provide a better path for the kids. 3. Education; we work with local businesses and the community to educate them on identifying and preventing gang activities and crime. As stated, gangs have a devastating effect on communities and we need to have a strong partnership with our communities and take a holistic approach to stopping gang activity within our communities.
I have had a long standing relationship with the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office stemming from my time as a Deputy, a Supervisor, and the Lieutenant in charge of the Detective Division. I had the pleasure to work very closely with the Prosecutor and his Deputy Prosecutors on all major felony crimes (Murder, Arson, Rape, Robbery etc.) within Benton County. These types of cases are very complex and require a very close working relationship in order to reach a successful conclusion or prosecution. It is imperative that Law Enforcement and Prosecutors maintain an ongoing partnership and collaborative commitment to public safety, this partnership and commitment is why I am endorsed for Sheriff by the Benton County Prosecutor Andy Miller.
Phone (509) 528-9131
Party Preference Republican
YouTube Video
Town where you live West Richland
Experience (300 characters max) I was raised in rural Benton County and graduated from Richland High School in 1985. I have proudly served as a Kennewick Police Officer since 1990. My knowledge of the community, my education, and my law enforcement experience make me the perfect executive level candidate for a fresh perspective.
Benton County is my home. There are four generations of Lattin's living in Benton County and I want a safe community for my family and my friends because I am not going anywhere when I eventually retire. I have 28 years of law enforcement experience in which I have worked in leadership roles in both tactical situations and community projects. I have had a well rounded career with the Kennewick Police Department which has shown me that the real solutions are developed when we all work together. In addition, I have a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice Administration and am currently working on a Doctorate in Criminal Justice. I have both the experience and education to lead at a command level as the next Benton County Sheriff. This community is important to me and I want it to be a great place to raise a family, go to work and enjoy recreation for generations to come.
The three major issues are community trust, the Public Safety Tax Initiative, and a reduction in criminal activity. I have a threefold approach to my vision for the Benton County Sheriff’s Department: *Maintaining the highest levels of accountability *Increasing public trust through community partnerships *Offering transparency of the Sheriff’s office to the citizens of Benton County I will listen and collaborate with stakeholders to develop solutions that are in the best interest of our County and our community. We do hold offenders accountable for their actions. The difference is that I believe that should be balanced with being “smart on crime”. We can never build enough jail cells to hold everyone who breaks the law and as we know, even the most violent offenders eventually get released. We need to balance being tough with helping people with a plan after release. That plan would include partnering with the community. I believe that the Sheriff can lead in that reg
Of the three issues listed above, Trust is the most urgent. Trust is the foundation of any relationship. The sheriff's office does have a relationship with the community. If they don't trust their law enforcement officials then they certainly won't be willing to support the Sheriff's Office with tax dollars. They will not support the renewal of the Public Safety Tax if they do not trust the law enforcement agency. They also won't be willing to partner with the Sheriff's Office to develop solutions to the crime problem and make a better community for everyone. We can do better and that is what I will do.
The relationship with the Benton County Prosecutor is an important one. The deputies and detectives need to have the best training possible to present a case to the prosecutor that is accurate, unbiased, and professional so that offenders can be held accountable. That is the "tough on crime" piece of the puzzle. The second half is how we can be smart on crime. We need to support the prosecutor on less restrictive alternatives to incarceration in the right situations. Supporting diversion programs means that the Sheriff's office will perform followup checks to ensure that the person in diversion is adhering to the terms. Diversion programs only are effective if there is an accountability piece. The Sheriff and the Prosecutor should be partners in the crime fighting effort and support what is in the best interest of the community. I have personally known our Benton County Prosecutor for over 15 years and I have the utmost respect and good working relationship with him. logo


All statements and videos are posted directly by the candidate, unedited by the League of Women Voters and do not express the views of the League. The League never supports or opposes candidates or political parties.