Weber County sheriff race draws 3 more GOP hopefuls

Friday , February 09, 2018 - 5:00 AM3 comments

OGDEN — Three more hopefuls are eyeing bids for the Weber County sheriff’s post, all Republicans and all citing manpower as a key issue.

Ryan Arbon, David MacInnes and Wayne Smith all recently filed with the Weber County Elections Office their intent to gather signatures to secure a spot on the Republican primary ballot next June. Arbon is the Perry police chief, MacInnes is a sergeant in the Weber County Sheriff’s Office and Smith is a former sheriff’s office sergeant now working for the Utah Department of Corrections.

Sheriff Terry Thompson, a GOPer and the two-term incumbent, announced last month that he wouldn’t seek re-election, spurring a flurry of interest in the position.

Adrian Eads, a supervisor for the UDOC Adult Probation and Parole Office in Ogden, was the first to file his intent to collect signatures to secure a place on the GOP ballot and three others have also publicly expressed interest.

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The period to file plans to collect signatures with county election officials lasts until March 15. The period to file formal declarations of candidacies — for those going the signature route or seeking nomination via their party’s convention — lasts from March 9 to 15.


Arbon, 44, lives in North Ogden and has served as chief of the Perry Police Department in neighboring Box Elder County since May 2016. Before that, he was a Clearfield Police Department officer for 14 years.

He touted his leadership skills and the change he’s helped implement as head of the Perry Police Department, which has seven sworn officers. The department’s fleet of vehicles was problematic, morale was low and officer turnover was high — all issues he’s helped address.

Trust in the department has “never been higher,” Arbon said.

Assuring sufficient manpower in the Weber County Sheriff’s Office would be a priority along with relationships with cities that contract for law enforcement with the department. “I’m going to do my very best to make sure they get exactly what they want,” he said.


MacInnes, 47, has worked for the Weber County Sheriff’s Office since 2000 and currently serves as sergeant for the western precinct. He oversees field training in his post and works with contract communities, among other things. He lives in Ogden.

Public safety and security are top priorities for a sheriff, and he said retaining officers and fighting turnover would help in achieving those goals. “We are hemorrhaging people,” he said. “It can’t be sustained.”

Pay level of officers is a key factor, but he also pointed to the heavy work schedules deputies sometimes have to maintain so the department is sufficiently staffed.

More generally, he cited his leadership skills and ability to bring people together. “I feel deeply about this county and the citizens that are in it,” he said.


Smith, 51, worked more than 26 years in the Weber County Sheriff’s Office, as patrolman and then as sergeant, before leaving in 2016. He now works as an agent in the UDOC Adult Probation and Parole Office in Ogden.

Weber County “is where I was raised. This is my community. This is my opportunity to give back to them,” he said.

The sheriff’s office here needs “strong, open, progressive leadership,” and Smith, who’s long mulled a bid for sheriff, said he can deliver. Smith lives in South Ogden, where he served two terms on the city council before losing the vote last year in his bid for a third term.

Retaining sheriff’s department employees would be his top priority. Another key issue would be assuring strong relationships with the cities that contract for protection from the office and partnerships with other entities, like the Ogden Police Department and the UDOC.

Maintaining balance in utilization of county jail space is also a concern, as is ensuring those with mental health issues get appropriate attention.

GOPers seeking a spot on the party’s primary ballot via petition must collect 1,487 signatures from registered county Republicans. Weber County Republican Party leaders pick their preferred candidate at a party convention on April 14 while the primary election — when petition and convention hopefuls face off — is set for June 26.

Matt Bell, a former Weber County commissioner; Nate Hutchinson, a lieutenant for the Weber County Sheriff’s Office; and Lane Findlay, public information officer for Weber School District, have also expressed interest in running for sheriff.

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at, follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at

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