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Law & Justice

Ada County Commission Appoints Lt. Matt Clifford To Sheriff

Lt. Matt Clifford (center, wearing a tie) poses with supporters after being named Ada County Sheriff.
Troy Oppie
Boise State Public Radio
Lt. Matt Clifford (center, wearing a tie) poses with supporters after being named Ada County Sheriff.

The Ada County Commission voted 2-1 Friday to appoint Lieutenant Matt Clifford Ada County Sheriff.

Clifford has served as the Chief of Police in Eagle since 2019 under the shared operations contract the county has with the city, and will celebrate his 21st anniversary with the Ada County Sheriff's Department this August.

Commissioners Kendra Kenyon and Rod Beck motioned and voted to appoint Clifford. Beck said he wanted a constitutional sheriff in Ada County, but did not make a motion to appoint nominee Doug Traubel, a self-proclaimed constitutional sheriff.

During Friday’s meeting, Beck highlighted a letter from the five Republican mayors in Ada County which supported Clifford’s appointment, and referenced the overwhelming public support for the current Lieutenant received by the Commission.

“I’m making a decision of conscience, without respect of party or anything else,” Beck said. “The decision I make is what I think is going to be best for the citizens of Ada County.”

Kenyon noted Clifford’s considerable experience and current position in the Sheriff’s Department, and also noted the considerable support his nomination received from members of the Sheriff’s Department.

Commissioner Ryan Davidson voted against Clifford’s appointment, but did not specify his preference for sheriff during the meeting and had no comment for reporters afterward.

Davidson read positive personnel reviews for Traubel during the meeting, but said scrutiny of Traubel’s past writings was probably too much of a distraction for the county.

Clifford is expected to be sworn in as Sheriff as soon as Tuesday. He said the mayors of Eagle and Star have been particularly helpful helping him begin to build a political toolbox which he’ll need as sheriff.

“They’re very good in politics,” Clifford said of Mayors Jason Pierce and Trevor Chadwick. “They have a good grasp on what’s going on in the Republican party, what’s going on in our communities. So I was able to turn to them and they were happy to assist me.”

Election prep begins immediately, Clifford said. His name will be on the ballot beginning with the May 2022 Republican primary.

Current Ada County Chief Deputy Sheriff Scott Johnson will stay in his position as a key resource for the transition and beyond. Clifford said Johnson would be his main source of counsel, and that he has not spoken with former Sheriff Steve Barlett since his resignation May 31.

Clifford is also working with Eagle Mayor Jason Pierce to position incoming Lieutenant Ryan Wilkie as the next Eagle police chief.

Correction (July 6): A previous version of this story stated Clifford would celebrate his 21st anniversary as an Ada County Sheriff Deputy this August. It will be his the start of his 21st year, but as Sheriff he will no longer be a deputy.