GREAT FALLS – Cascade County voters learned the outcome of one of the most contested races on Tuesday night as the primary election results were announced.
GFPD officer Jesse Slaughter took the Democratic spot in the Cascade County Sheriff’s race, and will go head-to-head against GOP challenger Lt. Bob Rosipal in November.
“I respect the voters, I respect the process. The voters have spoken. That’s the way it is. I have no problem with that,” incumbent Sheriff Bob Edwards said.
“It’s a weird feeling to describe. You asked me how I felt this morning, I felt like a lot of weight came off my shoulders and it’s weird because I never really saw the heaviness before,” Edwards said.
Edwards said he will continue to do his job, and look ahead to the future.
“My goal is to have the Sheriff’s office as stable as possible for whomever takes my office,” Edwards said.
After November, the newly-elected sheriff must make a quick transition and Edwards said he will do everything in his power to make sure it’s smooth.
“We’ve got a lot to transition and for someone who may not know a lot about the Sheriff’s office, there’s a lot of learn, trust me. I will teach whomever as much as possible, that’s only right because I care about the office, I really do. I don’t want to see it fail, so I will do my best to transition,” Edwards said.
But he’s not leaving without reflecting on his past 28 years in law enforcement.
“When I first started in the jail, I started in the old county jail in 1992 and I was watching the old operations of the jail and interacting with the deputy sheriffs, and I made a decision, probably about 1994, that I’m going to be the Sheriff for this county someday,” Edwards said.
Before he leaves office, he will continue to fight for a cause that is very important to him.
“I’ll be an advocate for law enforcement and their mental health until the day I die. The men and women working in law enforcement and in the detention center deserve to have that training at least to learn how to cope. And like I said, I wish I would have had this training twenty-plus years ago.”
And as this chapter of his life comes to a close, he’s excited for new beginnings.
He said nothing is set in stone, but he has some ideas in the works for January.
“Life has its ups and downs and how you handle them is going to make how you are. I don’t look at it as a low…heck, I’m on the rise!”
Reporting by Elizabeth Transue for MTN News