Hall County Deputy announces run for office

Deputy Rick Conrad announces run for Sheriff's office (NTV News)

There might be a new sheriff in town come elections day. After 20 years, the current Hall County Sheriff is being challenged for his position.

Deputy Rick Conrad has served Hall County for the past 25 years at the Sheriff’s Office in Grand Island and with the support of his family and fellow deputies, he's decided to run for office; a decision he says wasn't made overnight.

"This isn't something I did yesterday, this isn't anything I decided to do just on the spur of the moment, this is something that goes back quite a ways. Talking to other family members, I talked to one of my brothers about doing this, and it became quite obvious this is something I need to do, I need to do this for the Sheriff's Department," explains Conrad on his decision.

Conrad says he was encouraged to run for office and says recently received the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #10, which is designated to the Hall County Sheriff’s Department.

"I was approached by several of my peers within our agency, other agencies, people not even in law enforcement approached me about doing this, people I've met over the course of my career and that's why I've decided it's time," said Conrad.

He says, if he's elected, he'd like to make some changes, such as adding a second investigator to help battle drug abuse, reactivating the K–9 unit, adding full–time resource officers in rural schools to help address drugs, truancy and bullying, as well as addressing mental health issues in the county jail.

Sheriff Jerry Watson says he's not surprised by the competition, especially after the recent announcement of salary increases, but he says he’d like to serve one more term before he retires.

"In one sense it's kind of like 'well I want to do this one more time,' but on the other hand if it happens that I didn't get elected, it almost be a sense of relief because after doing this for 20 years, I mean you do this 24/7, it's not, there's no time off. So yea if the public wants me to hand over the reins, I'd happily do it and no hard feelings, it's the way it is."

But when asked if he ever thought one of his deputies would oppose him, this is what he had to say:

"I always kind of had it on the back of my mind that 'will this person be the next sheriff?' because there will be a next sheriff, ok, it's on the back of my mind it's kind of like you hope they don't take you on to try and kick you out of the office but again that's just part of this job."

He says Conrad is a good man and wishes him nothing but good luck. The upcoming elections will be May 15th.

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