County attorney hires an assistant

When Ryan Baldridge was hired as the new assistant Webster County attorney on Aug. 7, it was more than just a new job.

For him, it was the chance to fulfill his goal of becoming a prosecuting attorney.

Ever since he was young, Baldridge said he knew prosecuting criminal cases was something he wanted to do.

“I grew up with a father that was in law enforcement,” Baldridge said. “He was a police officer for more than 30 years before he retired. I also had a really close family friend who was an attorney, and that piqued my interest in the practice of law.”

After receiving his law degree from Creighton University and passing the bar exam in September 2012, Baldridge and his wife moved to Fort Dodge, where he took a job working in private practice.

“I handled a little bit of everything,” he said. “From real estate to a little bit of estate planning, some criminal defense and some family law.”

As he decided to start looking for opportunities as a prosecutor, a job opened up at the Webster County attorney’s office.

“In private practice I had experience with all the county attorneys and assistant county attorneys,” he said. “I really enjoyed handling cases with them, so I knew that if I were offered the position it would be a good fit for me.”

Baldridge said his responsibilities as a prosecutor will include half of the office’s juvenile court cases, simple misdemeanors and traffic violations, and, if necessary, helping out county attorney Cori Kuhn Coleman with county civil matters.

He believes his experiences in private practice will help him as a prosecution.

“I was able to develop professional relationships with other defense attorneys in Webster County,” he said. “I think those relationships are invaluable.”

His experience in the courtroom helped him learn about the different laws and procedures, skills he believes will be beneficial to him as a prosecutor.

In fact, Baldridge said being in the courtroom is one of the reasons he’s looking forward to his new role as assistant county attorney.

“In private practice, you don’t necessarily get the amount of court time that you do in a positions like this,” Baldridge said. “Throughout law school, that’s where my interest was, and I’m looking forward to being able to have a lot of experiences in court.”

Baldridge said he also wants to establish a relationship with local law enforcement.

“Working hand-in-hand with them is something that I’m definitely looking forward to being able to do,” he said.

Baldridge said he is looking forward to his future with the Webster County attorney’s office.

“I’m really excited by the office environment here,” he said. “It’s nice to work with the other attorneys here. They’re very encouraging and eager to help.”

With Baldridge’s hiring, the Webster County attorney’s office is now at full staff with five prosecutors. He filled the vacancy left when former county attorney Ricki Osborn left to become a private practice attorney.