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BOISE — An array of former top Idaho law enforcement officers and officials endorsed Tom Arkoosh for Idaho attorney general on Thursday, citing concerns over rival Raúl Labrador’s law enforcement positions. Those included pushing legislation in Congress in 2017, which Idaho sheriffs opposed, to stop local law enforcement agencies from receiving free transfers of surplus military equipment; and both writing to and talking to the U.S. attorney general in 2017 to seek favorable treatment of Ammon Bundy and militia members involved in a 2014 standoff with authorities at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada. “It is inappropriate for a member of the legislative branch of government to interject into an ongoing criminal prosecution,” said former Ada County Sheriff Vaughn Killeen. “To do so is an affront to the rule of law. It raises concern about how he would run the AG’s office.” Killeen, who was with the Ada sheriff’s office for 40 years including 20 years as the elected GOP county sheriff, said, “I believe I can recognize a person of good character by their deeds and concern for the truth. Tom Arkoosh is that kind of person.” Arkoosh, at a press conference with a group of the officials in front of the old Ada County Courthouse, said, “There’s well over 100 years of law enforcement experience here. ... Law enforcement will never have to wonder whose side I’m on.” Former Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney, who already had come out as a member of “Republicans for Arkoosh,” said Labrador, when advancing his unsuccessful 2017 legislation, “just blew off the concerns of the sheriffs” about ending a program that he said provided “basic surplus equipment to cash-strapped rural agencies.” Raney said while there was “sensationalism” about giving local cops things like rocket-launchers, “It was simple things like sleeping bags and Kevlar helmets.” Labrador is a former four-term GOP congressman and outspoken conservative who defeated longtime Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden in the May primary. Arkoosh is a longtime independent, longtime Idaho attorney and former Gem County prosecutor who is running against Labrador as the Democratic nominee. Former U.S. Marshal for Idaho James Benham, who also is the former Pocatello police chief, said Labrador, as an attorney, frequently asked for special favors from the marshal’s service that conflicted with their schedule for movement of federal prisoners headed to and from court hearings, while Arkoosh never made such requests. “That’s not the way the system works,” Benham said during the news conference with Arkoosh. “This man never asked me to do that. His opponent did many times, always looking for something for himself.” Asked for more information, Benham said U.S. marshals are responsible for movement of federal prisoners in and out of the courts and around the state. “We have a schedule to do that,” he said. That includes moving prisoners to a holding cell for a secure, non-touching meeting with their attorney when needed, he said, but not disrupting the entire schedule just to accommodate one attorney’s changing schedule needs. “There are some attorneys, he’s one of ‘em, that constantly felt that what he had to do took precedence over what everybody else has to do,” Benham said. “He wanted us to adjust our schedule to meet his schedule. And that office has only got eight people in it.” Labrador’s campaign had no comment on Benham’s allegations. Brent Littlefield, Labrador campaign advisor, said in an emailed statement, “Democrat Arkoosh’s entire campaign is about false and misleading attacks from former politicians and former officials. Raúl Labrador is not focused on the past, he is focused on Idaho’s future.” “While Democrat Arkoosh has former officials and has-been politicians surrounding his campaign,” Littlefield said, “Raúl Labrador has the support of current Idaho law enforcement leaders including Ada County Sheriff Matt Clifford, Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue, Kootenai County Sheriff Bob Norris, Twin Falls County Sheriff Tom Carter, Clearwater County Sheriff Chris Goetz, Fremont County Sheriff Len Humphries and Oneida county Sheriff Arne Jones, just to name a few. Raúl Labrador looks forward to working with these current law enforcement leaders as Idaho’s next Attorney General.” Littlefield had no comment on the

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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