November 4th, 2009 | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Multnomah County

A Surprise Entry for the Multnomah County Sheriff's Race


In a surprise move, Multnomah County Undersheriff Tom Slyter today filed (PDF) to run for sheriff in the May 2010 primary.

The move is startling because Slyter is a close friend of Sheriff Bob Skipper but is now running against Skipper's own hand-picked successor, Lt. Dan Staton.

"Dan's a nice guy, (but) I've got a few things I'd like to see happen in the sheriff's office," Slyter tells WW. "I decided that I'd give it a shot, stick my oar in the water and see what happens."

Slyter retired from the sheriff's office in 1999. He was working as a manager for Frontier Airlines when Skipper brought Slyter back to the sheriff's office last year as undersheriff after Skipper replaced Sheriff Bernie Giusto.

Skipper at the time described Slyter as a trusted friend to help him reform the agency. Skipper even chose Slyter as his appointed interim in case Skipper had to step down.

But neither Skipper nor Slyter has a state law-enforcement certification, which is required to be sheriff. When Skipper twice failed a test to gain his certification and announced in September he was resigning, he switched to Staton as his appointed interm and has since backed Staton in his own bid to be elected sheriff.

Staton officially takes over as interim sheriff on Thursday, Nov. 5, when Skipper leaves office. Slyter also is stepping down as undersheriff.

Slyter says he planned to attend the police academy in October to gain his law-enforcement certification. But Slyter says when Skipper announced he was stepping down, Skipper also decided not to send Slyter to the academy.

Slyter, who is 63, says he has no doubt he can pass the 16-week basic police academy if he's elected sheriff.

"I'm just as healthy as a horse," he says. "A healthy horse."

The board of county commissioners on Nov. 5 will set a date early next year for the election to complete the rest of Skipper's term through the end of 2010. Candidates have not yet been allowed to file for that race, but Staton, retired Capt. Bruce McCain, and now Slyter all say they will run.

As of today, only Slyter, Staton and McCain are in the running for the May 2010 primary for a full four-year term as sheriff.
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