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Trudeau announces bid for Jefferson County Sheriff

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Undersheriff Paul W. Trudeau officially announced his candidacy for Jefferson County sheriff in front of a gathering of family, friends and supporters Friday afternoon at the Italian American Civic Association on Bellew Avenue in Watertown.

“I see the sheriff as a leader and a protector of the county who should be trusted and have integrity. If I am elected to serve as the next Jefferson County sheriff, I pledge to serve and protect this community with every resource at my disposal,” Mr. Trudeau told those in the crowd, who stood to applaud as the speech concluded.

Sheriff John P. Burns, who was in attendance, appointed Mr. Trudeau undersheriff in February.

Mr. Trudeau began his career with the Sheriff’s Department on Oct. 13, 1998. He became a Drug Abuse Resistance Education officer on June 20, 2002, and was awarded the Army & Navy American Legion Post 61 Law and Order Night Award for a cave rescue in the town of Hounsfield in April 2003.

In 2004, he was selected for the department’s newly formed K-9 unit, which was reintroduced by then state Sen. James W. Wright.

Mr. Trudeau eventually became a master K-9 instructor and the head of the unit, training several dogs in surrounding counties. His K-9 partner, Bullet, who served with the department from 2004-2011 and helped discover drug stashes and missing persons, died in November 2011 after collapsing during a training exercise.

Mr. Trudeau said that of all his various duties at the Sheriff’s Department, he was proudest of his work with the K-9 unit — a unit he said is highly recognized in the north country.

Mr. Trudeau also assisted the Metro-Jefferson Drug Task Force and worked for several years as a state corrections officer. He served 20 years of active and reserve duty with the U.S. Army.

“I feel I bring the leadership, dedication and experience needed to run for the position of sheriff of Jefferson County,” Mr. Trudeau said.

“I wish Paul the best of luck,” said Mr. Burns, who described Mr. Trudeau as a moral person with a great deal of integrity.

Mr. Burns, who has been sheriff for nearly 12 years, has indicated that he does not plan to seek reelection.

It has been a difficult year and a half for Mr. Burns and his department, with several allegations of misconduct surfacing and repeated clashes with the Jefferson County Board of Legislators over issues ranging from airport security to jail crowding.

Mr. Trudeau said he would restore the public’s confidence in the department by bringing fresh ideas to the table as well as a willingness to talk with legislators.

“But they have to be willing to listen, too,” he said.

Mr. Trudeau pointed to the roundtable discussions that he has started with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies within the county and an initiative to begin ethics training within the department as evidence of his willingness to bring about change.

“People are saying we need change and change is good,” Mr. Trudeau told reporters.

He was introduced by his wife of 21 years, Bonnie S., a registered nurse at Samaritan Medical Center, and his son Jordan L., a junior at Immaculate Heart Central.

“We’re going to be busy,” Mrs. Trudeau said. “I’m very proud of my husband. He has a lot of integrity and trust and is loyal to a fault. We’re going to let people get to know him better. We support him 110 percent.”

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