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Jefferson primary to decide Democrats' sheriff candidate

May 03, 2000|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Four Democratic candidates for Jefferson County Sheriff, each with ideas about how they want to change the department, will face each other in next Tuesday's primary election.

The top vote-getter will face the lone Republican candidate, Kevin A. Alden, in the general election in November.

Current Sheriff William Senseney has served two, four-year terms and cannot run again.

Everett "Ed" Boober

Everett "Ed" Boober, a former Ranson Police Chief, wants to find ways to cut the sheriff's department's response time to calls.

Boober said he would evaluate the department's workload and determine if there is a way for the sheriff's reserve unit to take on other department duties - like serving court papers - to free up more time for deputies.

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Boober said he wants increase the dialogue between the department and the public and assign deputies to cover certain sections of the county. That way, the deputy and the residents get to know each other, which can pay off in understanding and solving crime in a sector, Boober said.

Boober stressed that he alone cannot "save the world. It's going to take a combined effort with citizens and law enforcement."

S. Marshall Harris

S. Marshall Harris said the sheriff's department needs to patrol 24 hours a day. He said the 14-officer department has less than half of the deputies it should have for the population it serves, and he believes more needs to be done to secure grants to hire more deputies.

"I think we need a better structure in the department as far as beats. Some people feel totally separated from the department and it shouldn't be that way," said Harris, a retired police officer who worked for 17 years in law enforcement positions in Prince George's County, Md.

Harris said he supports sheriff "substations" in the county to allow deputies to respond more quickly to calls in remote parts of the county, and he wants to promote activities for children to keep them out of trouble.

John A. Jeffries

John A. Jeffries, a retired West Virginia State Police trooper who worked 12 years at the Jefferson County detachment, said that if elected, he wants to concentrate on controlling drunken driving and drug trafficking.

The sheriff's department must consistently enforce drug laws to keep drug trafficking under control, Jeffries said.

Enforcement of drunken driving laws is the "most beneficial thing we can do for the people" to protect their lives and property, he said.

Jeffries said he wants to have a deputy who will train new hires in the field and write a comprehensive set of policy and procedures that would outline the way deputies should do everything, "from the way they dress to the way they respond."

If the county is going to grow as officials expect, the department needs to be prepared with these programs, said Jeffries, who investigated a number of high-profile homicides during his tenure in the county.

Jerry L. Rouss

Jerry L. Rouss, a retired detective from the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office in Palm Beach, Fla., pledges to be tough on drug dealing if he is elected sheriff.

Jefferson County has serious drug trafficking problems, but no one seems to care, said Rouss, who is also a former Ranson Police Chief.

Rouss said he has tried to raise the issue at town meetings, but people seem to have a lackadaisical attitude.

"For an area this small, the drug problem is terrific. If people don't grab a hold of it quick enough, it's going to get out of hand," said Rouss, who said he would make sure every deputy is able to write a search and seizure warrant application if he is elected.

"I will get the information needed to bust people," he said.

Kevin A. Alden

Kevin A. Alden said he is running because of what he sees as an "old boy network" in the county.

Some areas of the county do not receive regular patrols as other areas do, and in some cases it takes 25 minutes to respond to a call, said Alden.

Alden said he wants to increase training and standards in the department.

Deputies are also underpaid, said Alden, adding that officers can nearly double their salary by going to nearby counties in neighboring states.

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