RUPERT • Vic Watson, chief deputy sheriff for Minidoka County, will serve as interim sheriff until county commissioners name a replacement for former Sheriff Kevin Halverson.

Halverson resigned July 1 as part of a plea agreement after he was charged with one felony count of misuse of public funds by a public officer. Watson took over immediately.

“I’m afraid it will be a fairly short-term position,” Watson said.

He said he had intended to apply for the job, but his residency in Cassia County precludes that.

“The law is worded peculiarly, and the county clerk investigated it on the state level and they ruled that you have to live in the county for one year prior to taking office,” he said. “There is no grace period. I’m disappointed of course.”

Watson, who has worked for the sheriff’s office since 1993, moved from Minidoka County to Burley eight years ago.

The commissioners will take applications for the job until July 12, County Attorney Lance Stevenson said last week.

Watson said the transition has been smooth: “We’re operational and functional and getting business done.”

The department as a whole is somewhat anxious, he said, due to the uncertain nature of change and the rare situation of having a sheriff criminally charged and ordered to resign..

“I’ve enjoyed my time in the sheriff’s office, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve,” Watson said. “I’ve always felt it is a privilege to be a public servant. I’ve always been aware that the taxpayers were paying my wages, and I was a good steward of the county’s money.”

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