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Sheriff Lorin Nielsen to run for county commission, endorses Lt. Tony Manu as successor


POCATELLO — Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen and Lt. Tony Manu both want to continue serving the public, just in different roles.

During a press conference Thursday, Nielsen, who announced his retirement earlier this month, told reporters he now plans to run for a position on the Bannock County Commission. The conference was held on the steps of the Bannock County Courthouse, where Nielsen also endorsed one of his lieutenants to replace him.

“I’ve had several people contact me and ask if I would run for county commissioner,” Nielsen said. “I’ve been humbled by all the people who’ve called and requested.”

In early January, when Nielsen said he wouldn’t be seeking re-election as sheriff, he said he would remain in office for another year. However, he wasn’t aware at the time he made the announcement that in order to not lose out on his retirement benefits, he has to be out of office for six months before taking another office.

So he will actually be bowing out earlier on June 30. An interim sheriff will serve until Jan. 2021.

Nielsen is now registered to be a candidate on the independent ticket for Bannock County Commission seat one. He’ll be running against incumbent Ernie Moser.

“I feel that I can make a difference … and I’m qualified,” Nielsen said.

Nielsen spent over 40 years with Bannock County law enforcement as a deputy sheriff, undersheriff and since 1996, sheriff. He was president and a member of the Idaho Association of Counties, something he said sheriffs aren’t called to do very often. He added that even fewer sheriffs have had the chance to be on the National Association of Counties, but he had the opportunity.

“I understand county government. I’ve been involved with it for 42 years,” Nielsen said.

Although he realizes it’s up to the people, Nielsen said with him running for county commission, he’s endorsing Manu to run as his successor.

Manu’s been with the Bannock County Sheriff’s Office for 28 years. He said he’s felt the community embrace him and his family since the day he arrived in Pocatello in 1986 to play football at Idaho State University.

“This community’s been a great support for me,” Manu said. “They embraced my whole family as I raised my four boys and (they’ve) supported us throughout my whole life thus far, and they still support us.”

During his candidacy announcement, he thanked his family, football coaches and coworkers, who’ve provided guidance and leadership that’s put him in the position to run for sheriff in the first place.

“I can stand here with utmost sincerity, confidence and most of all humbleness (because of them),” Manu said. “They shaped me into who I am, and I’ll continue to use their examples for my future endeavors.”

Manu is the only person so far to announce they are running to become Bannock County sheriff.

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