Editor’s note: Four candidates are running in the Republican primary for Flathead County Sheriff. The primary is June 5. Absentee ballots have been mailed. Here’s a look at the candidates and their views. No Democrats filed for the post.
Back in August 2015, Jordan White was swimming in Beaver Lake, doing the backstroke.
Not that he wanted to be. White had just narrowly survived accidentally crashing a Two Bear Air helicopter into the water. The craft’s rotor had touched the surface as he was doing bucket drops on a nearby fire and had gone into the lake. The helicopter flipped over, filled with water and White was able to wriggle out of the cockpit.
But the communication cords that were attached to his helmet were also attached to the helicopter and he had to struggle to get the strap off his helmet as the bird sank to the bottom, dragging him with it.
After he managed to get his helmet off, he popped to the surface and found it almost impossible to free stroke, so he did the backstroke, where at least he could float.
It was then that he decided that “I have to give everything I have to be my best.”
Today, White is one of four Republicans seeking the nomination for Flathead County Sheriff. White currently owns Live Safer, Inc. a security consulting company out of Somers, but he has a long history of working for the Sheriff’s Department as a deputy and undersheriff. He was also a co-founder of Two Bear Air.
White, 40, was born in California, but spent most of his youth living outside Eureka and was homeschooled from fourth grade through high school.
He began his law enforcement career when he joined the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office as a reserve deputy at 21.
Early in his career, he was a Montana Highway Patrolman out of West Yellowstone for a year, was west Yellowstone Police Officer and then joined the Flathead County Sheriff’s Department as a deputy in 2002. As a deputy, he was a public safety diver, a training officer, worked on the SWAT team, a deputy coroner and the search and rescue coordinator. He was undersheriff from 2011 to 2012. He left the agency in 2012 to become the executive director of Two Bear Air from 2012-2017. He still volunteers today with the Sheriff’s Department.
On local issues, White said he didn’t see the department being able to afford a satellite office in the Canyon. A satellite office has long been asked for by many Canyon residents.
He said his goal was to work more closely to fire departments, ambulances and other public service entities in fighting crime. He said intervention was a goal and those agencies could help identify problems in the community. The department could then hold town halls to address the problems.
He also advocated early intervention with youth. He said he also favors a drug court that would handle drug cases.
On arming teachers, he said he understands that some teachers will never want to carry a weapon, but there are others, such as military veterans, who would be willing to carry a weapon. He said with the right training, he could support arming teachers.
“I think it’s a good idea as long as it’s the right person” he said.
White said, if elected, he would advocate for a new school resource officer position that would serve the rural schools that don’t currently have one now.
He said intervention was a key to fighting crime in the county and he’d work with the 400-plus nonprofits and other community groups to identify and address problems before they occur.
For remote locations like the North Fork, he advocated responding to incidents by using resources like a helicopter if need be.
“You don’t have to give up public safety just because you live in a remote area,” he said.
He said he wanted to continue the strong relationship the department has with Two Bear Air.
On the jail, he said he favors expanding it at its current location if need be, and utilizing the existing beds.
The current staffing levels, White advocates the above mentioned resource officer and adding another patrolman to bring the current shifts to an even number.
He said his experience with the department and Two Bear Air over the years separates him from the other candidates.