SALT LAK CITY- (ABC4 Utah) – A familiar face is jumping into the race for Salt Lake County Sheriff.
Current Sheriff, Rosie Rivera just took over about five months ago, but today she’s officially facing a challenge from within the department.
Lt. Justin Hoyal is taking a promotion into his own hands. Thursday, he officially launched his campaign.
Salt Lake County Councilwoman Aimee Winder Newton and Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan were there to endorse him.
The first step for Hoyal, is the republican nomination.
“I had been in the planning stages of this, for this position, for this announcement for over the last year, year and a half,” Hoyal said.
He says his top focus is public safety. He says in the past, some have been tough on crime, and focused on locking people up. While, others have been soft on crime, and focused on rehabilitation.
He says he will be smart on crime.
“Today, we still have rampant drug abuse, violent crime, theft, fraud, you know, it’s time we look at things from more than one point of view,” said Hoyal.
He says he’ll put his 21 years of experience in law enforcement to use, by working closely with county partners.
He points to Operation Rio Grande as a successful model of collaboration.
“We need somebody who is qualified to bring all the stake holders to the table, to be able to discuss the over arching problems we are facing in public safety,” said Hoyal.
He is challenging his current boss, Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera.
Rivera was just selected to fill the vacancy by the Salt Lake County Democratic Party back in August, 2017.
She says she is disappointed someone from her own office wants to oppose her.
“I have worked very diligently to improve the service we provide our citizens as law enforcement. I also have been working to repair relationships with our counterparts. It is important for us to work together to address issues such as opioid addiction, mental health, domestic violence, jail bed overcrowding and violent crime,” said Rivera.
The primaries will be early next year. After that, the race will come to a head in November, 2018 in the General Election.