Lake County sheriff candidates

The Lake County Sheriff candidates are, clockwise, from top left, David Dowling, Daniel Murchek, Richard Ligon, James Nowacki, Wally DeRose, Todd Rakos, Maria D. Trajkovich, Oscar Martinez and Gerry Scheub.

Photos provided

CROWN POINT — A retired Gary police officer and former federal investigator is now tossing his hat into the ring for Lake County sheriff. 

Wally DeRose, 79, of Schererville, retired three years ago from the Homeland Security Federal Protective Services, but some friends suggested he try for the spot vacated last month by John Buncich after he was convicted of bribery, wire fraud and honest services wire fraud charges. 

"Some of my friends, they said, 'Your training, and your experience is something (the department needs).' It's a pretty good department but it could use some super-improving," DeRose said Thursday.

DeRose said he's the man for the job, having spent six years in the U.S. Army, including three years active duty, and seven years with the U.S. Department of State in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security. 

DeRose said he wants to run the county jail more efficiently while still meeting federal DOJ mandates, improve the department's operations and staff vetting and increase use-of-force and other training for Lake County officers. 

DeRose joins Lake County police Sgt. Oscar Martinez, Schererville Police Chief David Dowling, retired federal law enforcement agent Richard Ligon, Lake County Deputy Police Chief Daniel Murchek, Gary landlord Jim Nowacki, retired San Diego Harbor police Lt. Todd Rakos, of Munster, former Lake County Commissioner Gerry Scheub and Lake County sheriff's Cpl. Maria Trajkovich among the list of candidates.

Each candidate has filed paperwork with the Democratic Party to appear at Saturday's caucus of precinct committee members and ask for their votes to fill the vacancy. 

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Lauren covers breaking news, crime and courts for The Times. She previously worked at The Herald-News in Joliet covering government, public policy, and the region’s heroin epidemic. She holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting.