Frmr. Hood River police chief Bruce Ludwig announces run for Hood River County Sheriff

May 21, 2011

Bruce Ludwig announced Friday he will run for Hood River County Sheriff in May 2012.

Ludwig, 60, who has 22 years of law enforcement experience, has been Hood River Police Chief for the past six years.

"I want to run for sheriff for the same reason I got into law enforcement in the first place, to help the community in which I live," Ludwig said. "I've spent a lot of time in the community, gotten very involved and come to love it here, and I feel it deserves professional leadership in law enforcement.

"As sheriff I think I could bring that, not that it does not exist but I think I could bring a level of professionalism very deserving of the department."

Meanwhile, current Sheriff Joe Wampler said Friday it is "unlikely" he will run for a fifth term.

"I don't want to quit doing this job but I really don't want to go through that election process again," Wampler said. "If I was going to do this unopposed I would do this in a second. But this process is too hard on the people around me.

"Based on that I predict not doing this again, and this will probably be my last term," Wampler said.

"I've got another year and a half to go, and I don't want to say out loud that I'll retire, because I don't want to quit what I'm doing during that time. I'd hate to say I'm going to back off from it during the (remaining) time in office."

Ludwig is currently on administrative leave, a decision made by City Manager Bob Francis on May 12. Ludwig joins Police Sgt. Neil Holste as the other announced candidate for the job of Sheriff. Holste is acting chief while Ludwig is on leave.

Ludwig came to Hood River after 16 years with the Redmond Police Department, starting as reserve officer following graduation from Police Academy in 1989. He worked his way up the ranks as patrol officer, corporal, sergeant, captain, and administrative captain.

Ludwig possesses an executive certificate from the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training

Prior to law enforcement, he worked for Warm Springs Forest products while serving as a reserve with Redmond and Madras police departments.

Ludwig and his wife, Patti, have three grown children.

Regarding his administrative leave status with Hood River Police, Ludwig noted that "there has been no wrong-doing; we (Francis and he) had some sort of managerial difference, and I am not completely aware of what that is.

"But I don't expect that to change the way I approach problem solving, leadership or management as a candidate for sheriff," Ludwig said..

Ludwig said the only reason he was given for his leave was over differences in "management goals and philosophies". (He is scheduled to meet again with Francis on May 27.)

Pointing to the recently-revived city-county talks on merging sheriff and police services, Ludwig had this comment:

"If there is to be a merging or contracting (of services), I think it needs to be done the right way, in a professional way that does not severely or negatively impact the remainder of county resident. I can help accomplish that."

Ludwig said he is working on creating a campaign Facebook page that will be available soon.

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