The Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office soon may be looking for a new undersheriff.

"It's fair to say there will likely be a change in the undersheriff position in the near future," Sheriff Jim Winder confirmed Wednesday.

Current Undersheriff Beau Babka is one of nine finalists in the running to be the sheriff of Orange County, Calif. He is the only finalist not currently living in Southern California, although he was born and raised in California.

On Tuesday, the nine finalists met for a marathon interview session in California. Neither the L.A. Times nor MSNBC considered Babka a front-runner for the job.

Winder didn't want to say much, however, about whether Babka would still be undersheriff regardless of the outcome in Orange County.

"We're working that out between he and I," he said.

Winder said he did not want to comment on Babka's situation while he was in the middle of the Orange County interview process.

He said he also had not considered any replacements for Babka.

"If and when there are any changes, we'll look at that process," he said.

Winder said it was his understanding that Babka was applying for positions at other agencies as well as Orange County.

A call to Babka's cell phone Wednesday was not returned.

Babka became a patrol officer for the South Salt Lake Police Department in 1992 and quickly rose through the ranks. He became the department's chief in 2006. But by the end of the year, had accepted an invitation to become Winder's undersheriff.

Babka ran an unsuccessful bid for sheriff in 2002 and Congress in 2004.

A sheriff is normally chosen by voters. But when former Orange County Sheriff Michael Carona resigned after being indicted on federal corruption charges, it was determined that the Board of Supervisors could pick a replacement to serve the rest of his term.


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