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M'ville police chief to join sheriff's race?

Cary Ashby • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:07 PM

This year's race for Huron County sheriff might include three candidates.

Monroeville Police Chief Mike Ruggles got an application from Huron County Common Pleas Court late last week. After being fingerprinted standard procedure for a sheriff's candidate Ruggles met with Judge Jim Conway and Court Administrator Linda Stower late Monday morning.

"He had all his paperwork together," Stower said. "We accepted his paperwork and (his) application was filed."

Ruggles, who was unavailable for comment, was named the permanent Monroeville police chief in late October 2005. He was the interim chief starting June 21, 2005 after former chief Mike White resigned. Ruggles was the Norwalk police chief from 1991 through 2001 and had been with that department for a total of 31 years.

After a candidate is fingerprinted at the sheriff's office, the person's application is filed with the Huron County Clerk of Courts. Stower said the candidate's fingerprints are forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Ohio Bureau of Identification and Investigation to verify there aren't any outstanding warrants or charges during a background check.

"We don't determine if they are a viable candidate. That is done by the board of elections," she explained.

Ruggles' application will be forwarded to the board of elections and the county commissioners.

"If they are party-affiliated, we send it off to the part chairman. Then, we're done," Stower said, referring to the responsibilities of common pleas court.

It's possible Ruggles could run as an independent or write-in candidate.

In December, Huron County Sheriff's Detective Sgt. Dane Howard filed petitions to run as a Democrat for sheriff. Capt. James Bracken is running as a Republican. In 2007, Sheriff Richard Sutherland, a Republican, announced his decision to retire after 30 years in law enforcement.

"We haven't received (from Ruggles) anything yet," Sharon Locke, the deputy director for the board of elections, said this morning.

When filing his petition, Ruggles needs at least 189 signatures, but no more than 567 or three times the minimum, Locke said. The deadline is 4 p.m. March 3, the day before the primary.

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