Sheriff Candidate Tries To Buck Tradition

By Jeff Neumeyer

January 21, 2014 Updated Jan 21, 2014 at 5:54 PM EST

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21ALIVE) --- A long-time Indiana State trooper says the challenge of cutting into last year’s record homicide total in Allen County will get his full attention, if voters elect him the next county sheriff.

Luke NaThalang is not a sheriff department insider, but he believes that's actually an asset as he seeks to snatch the Republican Party nomination for sheriff coming up in May.

NaThalang announced his candidacy before noon on Tuesday at Republican Party headquarters in downtown Fort Wayne.

He has 29 years experience with the Fort Wayne state police post, mainly running speed patrols and serving as a crash investigator.

The perceived frontrunner in the race is Allen County Chief Deputy Dave Gladieux, who is second in command to current Sheriff Ken Fries.

On Christmas Day, an Allen County confinement officer was badly beaten by an inmate who’d just been sentenced to 65 years for murder.

NaThalang says, if elected, he'll also lobby county council for more money to boost hiring of jail guards.

" With our confinement officer getting battered in jail and the highest homicide rate ever in Allen County, we need to make a drastic change," NaThalang said.

History is not on NaThalang's side.

There is no example of a state trooper being elected sheriff in Allen County in at least the past 30 years.

It's not unusual, however, for neighboring counties.

There've been former state troopers who in the past 20 years or so have been sheriff in Noble, Dekalb, Adams, Wells and Steuben Counties, and in Whitley, the current sheriff, Mark Hodges, is an ex-trooper.

NaThalang hopes to make a breakthrough in Allen County when voters go to the polls for the primary election in less than four months.




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