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Security increased following threats to judge

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The Huntington County Sheriff’s Department has taken steps to protect a northeastern Indiana judge after learning of threats made against the judge late last week.

The sheriff’s department released a brief statement saying it learned of the threats Jan. 7 against Huntington Circuit Judge Thomas Hakes. The sheriff’s department said the threats are being investigated by the Indiana State Police, but both law enforcement agencies declined to give specifics concerning the nature of the threats, who may have made the threats, or any motives, citing the ongoing investigation. The release didn’t specify what steps the sheriff’s department is taking, and Sheriff Terry Stoffel would only say it involves personnel protecting the judge.

Indiana State Police spokesperson Sgt. Ron Galaviz said it’s common for the state police to become involved in investigations regarding threats against public officials. The Huntington County Sheriff’s Department received the initial complaint regarding the threats and then contacted the criminal division at the ISP post in northeast Indiana to investigate. The investigator will determine if the threats have merit, and if so, will submit findings to the county prosecutor.

Galaviz said the investigator hopes to complete the investigation in the next week.

Stoffel, who served as chief of the Huntington Police Department for eight years prior to taking office as sheriff last week, said, fortunately, these types of incidents are rare.

Judge Hakes was appointed to the bench in June 2006, with his term ending Dec. 31, 2012. His office declined to comment on the matter.
 

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