Election Day: Sheriff candidates for Fulton, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Marshall and Starke counties

It’s your voice, your vote. Many Hoosiers are picking their county sheriff.

There are five contested sheriff races in counties, including Marshall, Kosciusko, Starke, Fulton and Lagrange counties.

Marshall County

The current Marshall County Sheriff, Matthew Hassel is running for re-election and is competing against Jeff Wojcik on the Republican ballot. Hassel has won this Republican primary election, receiving 75% of the votes.

Hassel has served as the Marshall County Sheriff for the past six years. He served in the Bremen Police Department for 33 years with 14 years as Chief.

He spent 20 years on the Marshall County Council, 19 years as the Marshall County Deputy Coroner and 2 and a half years as a dispatcher for the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office.

Kosciusko County

The current Kosciusko County Sheriff, Kyle Dukes, is running for re-election but not without a challenger: Jim Smith, both of which running on the Republican ballot. 

Kyle Dukes has served as the Kosciusko County Sheriff for the last three years. Before winning the election in 2018, Dukes served as a trooper for the Indiana State Police for 18 years. Prior to that, Dukes was a reserve deputy for the Noble County Sheriff’s Office for two years.

Dukes’ competitor Jim Smith has worked at the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department since 2011 and has served as corporal since 2017. Prior to that Smith spent 12 years in the army reserve with a 9-month tour in Kuwait and Iraq in 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Smith later worked at the Syracuse Police Department from 2005-2011 with four years as a full-time officer before moving to the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department. He is also the president of the Tippecanoe Township Board with additional prior leadership roles throughout the community. Smith has won this Republican primary election, receiving 52% of the votes.

Starke County

Incumbent Bill Dulin will not run for re-election.

One GOP candidate running is Jack Rosa. Rosa is the current Starke County Coroner and has served as a Deputy US Marshal for 23 years. He also served ten years in the Hamilton County Police Department and two in the Howard County Police Department. Rosa has won this Republican primary election, receiving 68% of the votes.

He’s competing with Republican Gregory Wireman. Wireman has worked for both the North Judson Police Department and the Starke County Sheriff Department.

There are four Democratic candidates for Starke County Sheriff including Kelly Fisher.

Fisher is currently the North Judson Chief of Police. She started at North Judson in 1993 and worked in the sergeant capacity then moved to the Starke County Sheriff’s Office for 18 years before coming back to North Judson. Fisher has won this Democratic primary election, receiving 40% of the votes.

Rob Olejniczack has worked at the Starke County Sheriff’s Department since 2003 starting as a jailer and then moving on to a deputy in 2006. Olejniczack eventually moved up to chief detective in 2015, then chief deputy in 2018. Today, he is now a deputy and k-9 handler.

Another democratic candidate is Brack Rowe who works for the Starke County Sheriff’s Department. Few details are available about him online.

The last Democrat in the Starke County Sheriff race is Harold Smith Jr. Smith has spent 33 years in law enforcement in Starke County. He’s the current Knox City Police Chief and has been since 2006.

Smith began his career at the North Judson Police Department and moved to Knox City Police after 6 years. He’s also worked at the Starke County Sherff’s Department for 19 years.

Fulton County

In Fulton County, incumbent, Chris Sailors is not running for re-election.

GOP candidate Matt Craig is running this year and is the current Senior Deputy with the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department. Craig has been with the department since 2006.

Competing against Craig is Travis Heishman. Heishman has more than 21 years of law enforcement and corrections experience. Heishman is currently the Detective Sergeant for the Fulton County Sheriff Department and supervises the School Resource Officers in both Rochester and Caston Community Schools. Heishman has won this Republican primary election, receiving 52% of the votes.

Also on the Republican ballot is Frederick Sumpter. Sumpter retired from the Indiana State Fire Marshall’s Office Investigation Section after 25 years. Sumpter was the Northern Assistant Chief for 8 years and is a Navy veteran who served until 1975.

LaGrange County

The current sheriff, Jeff Campos, is not running for re-election.

Hoping to take his place is Republican and Chief Deputy Tracy Harker. Harker has worked with the LaGrange County Sheriff’s Office since 1996 starting as a Deputy. This is his sixth year as Chief Deputy. He also served as a S.W.A.T team member, assistant team leader and team leader with the Delaware County Sheriff Department for ten years. Harker has won this Republican primary election, receiving 65% of the votes.

Running against Harker is Tyler Randol. Randol is the Deputy Marshal for the Topeka Police Department. Randol joined the LaGrange County Sheriff’s Office as a Reserve Deputy in 2010 and was hired as a Deputy shortly after. Randol also served as a member of the LaGrange County Critical Response Team through 2020 and is a youth sports coach in the community.

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