The Hillsdale County Statutory Committee appointed Scott Hodshire as interim sheriff on Monday, Sept. 14. Hodshire, who won the Republican Party’s nomination for Hillsdale County Sheriff in last month’s primary election, will be sworn in as interim sheriff on Sept. 21, following the resignation of acting sheriff Carl Albright. Nathan Lambright will serve as Hodshire’s undersheriff.
All three members of the Hillsdale County Statutory Committee — Hillsdale County Probate Judge Michelle Bianchi, Hillsdale County Prosecutor Neal Brady, and Hillsdale County Clerk Marney Kast — voted in favor of appointing Hodshire based on the primary election results and current needs of the sheriff’s department.
“He was the highest vote-getter for the county,” Bianchi said. “The county voters have already spoken.”
Hodshire won the Republican nomination for sheriff on Aug. 4, defeating Albright and perennial candidate Jon Rutan. His appointment as interim sheriff follows the resignations of former sheriff Timothy Parker and Parker’s temporary successor Albright.
All three members of the statutory committee agreed that Hodshire’s appointment as interim sheriff will give the department much-needed continuity after the resignations of Parker and former undersheriff Albright.
“Continuity is so important, and it is so important for them to have a leader at their helm right now,” Bianchi said.
According to Kast, Hodshire and former Sheriff’s Deputy and Hillsdale City Police Officer Randy Casler were the only two members from the community who submitted letters of intent and resumes to fill the position of interim sheriff.
“I would suggest that Scott Hodshire is the person who needs to be placed as interim sheriff, because he will be the next sheriff,” Brady said. “As Mr. Hodshire said, we need some continuity, and we need to get rolling on some hirings.”
Brady added that as members of the command staff have left, the sheriff’s department has shuffled around personnel. This means that some deputy spots are still vacant, and the interim sheriff will be responsible for hiring these new deputies.
As long as Hodshire wins in the general election, he will be sworn in to serve his official term sometime in December, and his official term will begin on Jan. 1, 2020, according to Kast.
“The person who is going to hire them has to be this man, Scott Hodshire, because if it’s not, these people who are hired we will not know if they have their jobs after Jan. 1,” Brady said. “It’s important that these positions get filled, and they get filled by the person who will be the sheriff, so that we get the proper applicants, and proper people in the place.”
Democratic Party nominee for Hillsdale County Sheriff and current Deputy Wes Ludeker said he will not be able to campaign for the general election because he is still recovering from a work-related injury that occurred in a severe traffic accident last year.
“My doctors, therapists, and counselors have advised that it would not be in my best interest to actively campaign,” Ludeker said. “I feel that what’s best for the sheriff’s office at this point is that Scott Hodshire be placed as sheriff. The department needs to heal and needs to be rebuilt.”
Ludeker added that he has no intention of leaving the sheriff’s office and hopes to return to work in 2021. He also said that the Hillsdale County Democratic Party understands his medical issues, and he will continue to address the needs that have been expressed to him by the party.
Bianchi said that Ludeker’s name will still appear on the ballot in November, but Hodshire is most likely to win the general election based on the primary results.
Kast said that Hodshire mentioned several goals in his letter of intent that are aimed toward rebuilding the Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Department. While many of his goals focus on improving leadership within the department, Hodshire also discussed applying to receive grants for improving the facility and creating department programs.
Hodshire said he’s already applied for and received a grant for a K‑9 officer and the training for the officer. He has also acquired a brand new jet ski for the marine patrol at no cost to the county.
“It’s for the purpose of rebuilding what’s lost, and we’ve lost a lot of command staff as a department,” Hodshire said. “And I think both Nate Lambright and I, with my management experience, can rebuild it the way it used to be. We can apply for the grants and get the grants at no cost to the taxpayers to start rebuilding.”
Hillsdale County Sheriff Deputy John Leva said the deputies look forward to working with the new administration and making this transition to move the office forward.
“We look forward to collectively embracing Mr. Hodshire and Mr. Lambright and implementing whatever vision that they have for our office,” Leva said. “We will continue to move forward so we can serve the citizens of our communities.”