Current Missoula County Undersheriff Josh Clark announced his candidacy for the office of Missoula County Sheriff at a press conference on Wednesday, February 19.

Clark said the sheriff's office needs to continue to have a strong leader, with the pending retirement of current sheriff Carl Ibsen.

"I've served the Missoula community for 21 years," Clark said. "With Sheriff Ibsen retiring, everything converged at the right time. The sheriff's office needs to continue to have a strong leader, so it was the right time for me to step up."

Clark said of his 21 years in law enforcement, 10 have been with the Missoula Police Department.

"What I've found is that my relationship with those folks who I've worked with in the police department who are now leaders in that department, is very open and very active," Clark said. "I can pick up the phone and I know who I'm talking to, and they know who they're talking to. So, that relationship will continue to flourish and get better."

Clark said he has worked at every level of the sheriff's department, including patrol, detectives, detention, and as captain of the Professional Standards Division, what can also be called internal affairs.

Regarding the recent news reports regarding Sheriff Ibsen and the comments that were made public when Detective Jason Johnson filed a human rights grievance in relation to his support for fellow candidate for sheriff T.J. McDermott, Clark said these things happen in almost every election.

"These kinds of things can often happen in sheriff's department elections, because there are loyalties, there are friendships, and people pull for their own candidate," Clark said. "That is a natural occurrence. Basically, you can have politics and animosity, but peace is brought when the election is over. For the most part, when it's over, people go about their business because there's nothing left to argue about anymore. So, when I win the election for sheriff, we'll just get back to business as usual."

Clark said he has the full support of present Sheriff Carl Ibsen.

"If you look at my website, you can see my qualifications, and that Sheriff Ibsen wrote a nice endorsement for me," he said.

Undersheriff Josh Clark