As Minidoka County Sheriff Eric Snarr runs for re-election, he faces Rupert police officer Jeff McEwen. Both candidates have been in law enforcement in the county for a long time and have taken on its big cases.
Snarr, an Idaho Falls native who received his law enforcement certification at Idaho State University, has worked for several law enforcement agencies, including Aberdeen Police as a patrolman, Blackfoot Police as a reserve officer and the Rupert Police Department, where he was a patrolman, detective and interim police chief.
In 2005, he joined the Minidoka County Sheriff’s Office as a detective and climbed the ranks before being elected sheriff in 2013.
Of the issues he’s seen, the war on drugs is the biggest. With the Mini-Cassia Drug Task Force, which includes police from the Minidoka and Cassia counties, he says he has taken on this problem with several stings over the years.
For Snarr, a priority is making the sheriff’s office the public’s office. The other is being the working sheriff. There’s nothing he’ll ask his officers to do that he won’t do himself, he said.
“I want to continue to fullfil the campaign promise when I ran two years ago: my relentless pursuit against drugs.”
McEwen agreed that illegal drugs present the biggest issue in the county. His approach, he said, is to not only fight the trafficking and use but also get to the root of why people are using.
“I want to find the source of the problem and solve it so we’re not continually throwing money at it just hoping we’ll get on top of it,” he said.
McEwen also noted other issues he wants to address. Rupert, Heyburn, Minidoka and Acequia all have their big issues, he said. In Minidoka, for example, there may be problems with response time and lack of patrols.
In Acequia, the main road going into town has heavy traffic from agricultural vehicles. Families also live along that road, and making sure they are safe is something he wants to ensure. It’s a town he is familiar with both as a resident and as a former city councilman.
McEwen is originally from the Hazelton area but moved to Minidoka County in 1992. He worked in private security and as the site supervisor for Simplot and Algamated Sugar before obtaining a degree and vocational certificate and joining the Rupert Police Department.
McEwen said the sheriff is a leader in the community and has the ultimate say in law enforcement. He said his fresh perspective — not being attached to the policies and procedures at the sheriff’s office — makes him qualified to be that leader.
“When someone says Minidoka County’s a great place to live, I want to be one of the people who is responsible for the reason why,” McEwen said.