Garfield County has a new sheriff.

Than Cooper, who has worked eight years in the Panguitch Police Department, was appointed to the post by the County Commission. He succeeds Robert Judd, who resigned to accept a position at the Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison.The new sheriff is a Category I peace officer, certified by the Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST).

Cooper is likely to keep the position after the November election. He and Judd, both Republicans, were the only ones to file as candidates for sheriff. Now Cooper is the only candidate and is virtually assured of winning. Only a strong write-in candidate could unseat him.

It was necessary for the commission to appoint a new sheriff after Judd resigned, even though only about two months remain before the November election. State law specifies an appointment is necessary if the office is vacated more than 30 days before an election.

The law further outlines the procedure that must be followed when making an appointment to replace a county official between elections. A committee, which represents the political party to which a candidate who vacates an office belongs, is charged with submitting the names of up to three nominees to the commission.

The Garfield County Republican Central Committee advertised for interested individuals to submit applications before commissioners appointed Cooper.