Oakhurst native Frank Gauthier, 48, military veteran, and former sheriff's sergeant, has announced he is entering the race to be the next sheriff of Madera county.
Gauthier was born in Germany as as an Air Force brat and raised in Oakhurst, graduating from Yosemite High School in 1984.
After graduation, Gauthier joined the United States Air Force where he served as a Boeing B-52 Crew Chief and maintained a top secret security clearance during his four-year enlistment.
After his honorable discharge from the Air Force, he decided to follow the footsteps of his father, Milton Gauthier, and chose a career in law enforcement. He graduated from the State Center Peace Officer in Fresno in 1988. The following year, he was hired by the Madera County Sheriff's Department starting his career as a Superior Court Bailiff.
As a deputy, Gauthier patrolled in Madera, Chowchilla, and the Mountain Area. Seven years later, he found himself on the SWAT and Dive Rescue Teams. In 1996, within a year of being promoted to Sergeant, he was assigned team leader of both teams.
In 2000, Gauthier learned the United States Government was in need of volunteers to participate in rebuilding the public safety infrastructure in Kosovo and was chosen to participate. Within months of his arrival, he was assigned to build a tactical team made of international officers to protect the regional commander and support area law enforcement efforts.
Gauthier said it was the attacks of 9/11 that gave him the desire to get involved with America's security effort overseas. In 2004 he accepted a position to work with the United States Government's Worldwide Protective Security Program. Starting out as a team member and ultimately a close protection detail leader, he found himself among those successfully protecting three United States ambassadors to Iraq, congressional delegations, and the president of the United States.
In 2009, he was called to Afghanistan to train Afghan National Border Police. Soon thereafter, he was specifically recruited for the management team on a large project in which he manages and leads several hundred men and women as they support the United States government's mission in Afghanistan.
"I have a down to earth understanding of crime drawn from local and international experience," Gauthier said. "I feel I have the ability to enforce the law with compassion and common sense which will be instilled in deputies. I also understand budget management and have a strong work ethic required for the job."
Gauthier joins candidates Chowchilla Police Chief Jay Varney, Undersheriff Michael Salvador, former City of Madera Police Chief Michael Kime, Fresno City Police Department Detective Sgt. Greg Noll, and retired California Highway Patrol Sergeant Dennis Fairbanks, in the race to fill the seat of four-term Sheriff John Anderson who is retiring.