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Former Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder, a Democrat, has endorsed the Republican candidate running for sheriff.

SALT LAKE CITY — Former Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder, a Democrat, has endorsed the Republican candidate running for sheriff.

On Tuesday, Jim Winder, who stepped down as sheriff in 2017 to become Moab's police chief, announced Tuesday he is endorsing Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal.

“Every elected position in Utah is viewed through a partisan lens and it should not be, especially when it comes to the Salt Lake County sheriff. Victims of crime do not care whether a Democrat or Republican is serving them. They just want someone to help and hear," Winder said in a prepared statement.

"That's why I'm supporting Justin Hoyal for Salt Lake County sheriff. Simply put, he is the best person for the job."

Hoyal was the public information officer for the department while Winder was sheriff and later served as his chief deputy.

Hoyal will be facing off in November against current Sheriff Rosie Rivera, who was selected by Democrats to fulfill the remainder of Winder's term after he left. Like Hoyal, Rivera was also a public information officer for the department, and was the former deputy chief for the Riverton precinct.

Winder called Hoyal a "dedicated public servant."

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"Justin is not driven by ego. The trappings of office can often lead to focusing on what they're doing, but Justin's humility and ability to focus on the right thing is very critical," he said.

"Everybody wants community policing. Everybody wants 'smart on crime.' So here's a person that lives and breathes it. That's what we're doing here, and I hope that both Democrats and Republicans would put aside those banners for one race and elect an individual who will do a very good job for everyone. Parties aside, Justin is the right guy for this job," according to Winder.