Tim Helder says he’ll once again run for Washington County sheriff in the 2012 election.
If re-elected, it will be his fifth term. Helder was elected the 44th sheriff of Washington County on May 18, 2004.
“I would like to thank everyone for the support given to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office,” wrote Helder in a news release. “It has been a pleasure to serve as sheriff of Washington County and I look forward to serving you in the upcoming years.”
No other candidates have announced plans to seek the sheriff’s position.
Helder began his law enforcement career in 1979 with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, working in communications as a dispatcher and later as a field deputy. In 1982, he was hired by the Fayetteville Police Department where he worked for 21 years until he retired as deputy chief.
In 2004, Helder entered the race for sheriff following the resignation of Steve Whitmill, who left for a job at Tyson Foods. He was subsequently elected and began his first term on Jan. 1, 2005.
He graduated from West Fork High School in 1976 and lives in West Fork with his wife, Holly; son, Clay, a 21-year-old junior at the University of Arkansas; and his 18-year-old daughter, Karli, who is a senior at West Fork High School. Helder’s oldest son, Nolan, lives in Eureka Springs with his wife, Kasey, and their two children, Kane and Ruthie. Nolan is the boys basketball coach at Eureka Springs High School.
Helder is a member of the First Baptist Church of West Fork and “The Gospel Echoes,” the a southern gospel group that has been singing in area churches for over 12 years.
He serves as president of the Arkansas Sheriff’s Association, vice-chair of the Washington Regional Hospital board of directors, is on the board of the Arkansas Sheriff’s Youth Ranches and the Fayetteville Police Pension Board. Helder was past chair of the Gulf Coast High Intensity Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force and serves on its board, which includes Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Memphis, Tenn.
Since becoming sheriff, Helder has managed the detention facility, which houses a maximum of 710 detainees. Along with the facility’s opening in 2005, the Sheriff’s Office recruited and hired 85 employees. Currently, the office employs 337 people.
Helder said patrol services have increased by adding field deputies and utilizing state and federal funds, which allow the office to add extra deputies in rural communities. He said through grants and sharing resources with federal and local law enforcement, his office has taken the lead in technology, training and facilities.
Helder’s accomplishments, as listed in the news release, include:
- Implementation of the Sheriff’s Office iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad App (first in the nation)
- Installation of in-car video in all patrol units
- Installation of mobile computing in patrol units
- Establishment of the Sheriff’s Office Enforcement Division Tontitown Branch in the City of Tontitown
- Utilization of grant monies to improve equipment for the Detention and Enforcement Divisions
- Equipped deputies with tasers
- Employees have completed 215,468 hours of training since Jan. 1, 2005
- Sent command staff to advanced management training
- Participated in the Gulf Coast High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force
- Participated in Offender Watch, a public service tool to maintain awareness of registered sex offenders living in the community
- Participated in the 287G Task Force
- Oversaw construction of the new state-of-the-art firearms range, in partnership with the Fayetteville Police Department and U.S. Marshal’s Office
- Community service and work release programs have completed more than 530,756 hours of inmate work for the community since 2005
- Entered into an agreement with the Arkansas Highway Department for inmate litter pick-up reimbursement along state highways
- Implemented physical fitness testing