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Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert will meet Friday with three finalists vying to lead the state's Department of Corrections.

The three are Mike Haddon, corrections acting director; Rollin E. Cook, retired chief deputy of the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office and a consultant with the National Institute of Corrections; and Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds.

Approximately 60 people submitted applications for the post. A committee appointed by Herbert whittled that group down to 37 qualified individuals and then interviewed eight candidates before forwarding three names to the governor.

Haddon has served as acting director of corrections since January, after Herbert decided to not reappoint Tom Patterson as executive director. He was named a deputy director in 2007, supervising various department functions and acting as the agency's legislative liaison. He previously was director of research for the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice and the Utah Sentencing Commission.

Cook has worked as a consultant since 2008, specializing in helping corrections' officials open new institutions — expertise that could be called on if Utah lawmakers decide to move forward with relocation of the Utah State Prison. He spent 23 years with the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office before retiring in March 2012; at the time, he oversaw six divisions, more than 700 employees and 2,200 inmates held in two jails.

Edmunds was elected as Summit County Sheriff in 2002, just after serving as a venue commander at Park City Mountain Resort during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. He has served on the Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training Council since November 2005 and also serves on the executive boards of the Summit-Wasatch Children's Justice Center and as president of the Utah Sheriff's Association.

Edmunds wrote a letter last month to President Barack Obama on behalf of the sheriff's association urging caution in firearm legislation and stating that Utah sheriffs opposed any attempt to "descend upon our constituents and take from then what the Bill of Rights — in particular Amendment II — has given them." Edmunds said the letter was intended as a conversation starter.

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