MISSOULA, Mont. - Newly elected Missoula County Sheriff T.J. McDermott has plans to mend a divided office.
McDermott spent part of the afternoon Wednesday taking down his campaign signs. He said he's ready to get to work.
"Now that the campaign is over and the election's over I plan on just sitting down with everybody, and giving everybody an opportunity to work together."
While he won't take office until January, the sheriff-elect said he's ready to learn. "This is an opportunity for me right now to learn as much as possible about the department."
He admits there will likely be some challenges. "This has been a tough campaign, and at times very contentious," he said.
His campaign, this election, and his win are all on tail of a not so easy year for the Missoula County Sheriff's Office, after multiple allegations of discrimination, two settlements resulted in a divided office.
McDermott and his soon-to-be undersheriff Jason Johnson both received $60,000 from the sheriff's office this year after state Human Rights Bureau investigators found reason to believe both had been discriminated against based on their political beliefs.
McDermott said he is ready to move forward and prepared to take charge.
"I really hope that Sheriff Ibsen and the staff recognize that as well, and we can set our difference aside and work together to make it a smooth transition."