Dennis Allen joins crowded field for St. Joseph County Sheriff in 2024

St. Joseph County Commissioner and former undersheriff Dennis Allen announced his candidacy for sheriff Thursday, joining a crowded field that could grow larger before November 2024.

Allen joins retired St. Joseph County Det. Sgt. Chad Spence, a 26-year veteran of the department, and Joe Bingaman, who worked for the sheriff’s department for 14 years. Both filed to run for sheriff earlier this year. Undersheriff Jason Bingaman has yet to announce whether he also plans to run in 2024.

While rumors abound about the status of Sheriff Mark Lillywhite, the sheriff’s department nor the county government have made a statement about whether an official determination has been made regarding his position with the department. Watershed Voice has made multiple attempts to speak with the undersheriff on the matter but have been stonewalled in the months since Lillywhite’s arrest.

In a release sent to local media, Allen said he has received endorsements from the likes of former Sheriffs Brad Balk and Matt Lori, as well as Pastor Jerry Solis, a former Republican candidate for state representative with experience in local law enforcement.

“It has been a great privilege to serve the wonderful residents of St. Joseph County, while being employed at the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Dept. for 26 years, of which 20 of them I was the Undersheriff,” Allen said.

“[…] As a proven and successful leader in St. Joseph County, I would ask all of the residents of St. Joseph County to join my effort by supporting my campaign and voting for Dennis Allen, so that I can quickly restore the trust, integrity, honesty and credibility of the Sheriff’s Department. Transparency will be the avenue to restoring the great reputation of the people’s Sheriff’s Department. As a trusted and respected servant of the residents of St. Joseph County for over 35 years, I promise that will be my top priority.”

Alek Haak-Frost is executive editor and publisher of Watershed Voice.