Harford County voters could barely make up their minds in choosing between Republican sheriff candidates Jeff Gahler and Steven Bodway last month. Gahler ultimately prevailed and secured the Republican nomination by the narrow margin of just 64 votes, but now Harford County could see both Gahler and Bodway working in the Sheriff’s Office this November.
During his address to the Deputy Sheriff’s Union on Tuesday night, Gahler announced that his former political rival Bodway would be joining his Command Staff if he defeats Democratic incumbent Sheriff Jesse Bane in the General Election.
“I have made no specific announcements or decisions concerning command staff with the only exception being Steve Bodway. I met with Steve following the outcome of the Primary Election and Steve will be returning to the Office as a member of my command staff,” Gahler said Thursday.
Gahler said the addition of Bodway to his campaign and potential staff was a natural and sensible fit.
“Steve and I shared many common themes in our campaigns concerning issues existing in the Sheriff Office and I believe the close vote demonstrated how much citizens identified with each of our platforms. I know Steve will be a great asset to my administration and to the men and women of the Sheriff’s Office,” Gahler added.
Bodway said Saturday that he was “honored” to be asked by Gahler to join his staff, should he prevail in November.
“Jeff and I met after the election to share ideas and methods of applying these changes in a manner that is prudent and cost effective. Jeff and I have very similar ideas of improvements for the Sheriff’s Office. During our meeting he did ask me to join him on his staff and I was honored to accept,” Bodway said.
Bodway said one thing Harford County residents could expect to see from a Gahler-Bodway regime would be greater cooperation between state and county law enforcement – mirroring the cooperation being exhibited between Gahler (MSP) and Bodway (HCSO) themselves.
“One of the most important issues within the platform that we shared during the race was one of cooperation and effectiveness between the State Police and the Sheriff’s Office. Our joining forces was a prime example of doing what we say we are going to do. The decision to do this was an easy one because it is in the best interest of public safety in Harford County,” Bodway said.
Bodway also agrees that he and Gahler should have little trouble working together.
“Jeff and I are fellow graduates of Johns Hopkins University and our management philosophy is similar in practice and in style which will allow us to work well together,” he said.
Bodway said he will be working on Gahler’s campaign for the next month until the General Election and, should Gahler win, he is ready to accept whatever role Gahler assigns him.
“Traditionally, the month after the General election is decided is when the Sheriff makes the selection of the top commanders. I fully support Jeff in his campaign for Sheriff and will serve on his staff in the role that he believes will best serve the Sheriff’s Office,” Bodway said. “My role on his campaign is that of any other member of his staff which is to share our common goal in having Jeff become the next Sheriff of Harford County.”
As for his chief deputy, or under-sheriff, Gahler said he has yet to make that decision and remains focused for the time being on beating Bane.
“I have not yet interviewed those other individuals that I would consider for Chief Deputy or for other command positions, so I have made no other decisions at this point. As was the case before the Primary, my main priority and effort will be focused on winning the election and not personnel decisions,” Gahler added.