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DeHaven challenges Smith for Berkeley County sheriff's job

October 27, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - They're vying to become, once again, a man in black.

Both of the candidates seeking the Berkeley County sheriff's seat, including the incumbent, have previously worn the black uniform of the sheriff's department as a deputy.

Sheriff Randy Smith, a Democrat, and his challenger, Carlton "Cootsie" DeHaven, a Republican, will meet in the Nov. 2 general election.

The sheriff, who is elected to a four-year term and is paid $52,400 a year, oversees the county's tax department and law enforcement office.

Carlton DeHaven

Carlton "Cootsie" DeHaven, 53, favors adding satellite sheriff's department offices in the northern and southern ends of the county to help build a rapport with residents there, create a police presence and decrease the times it takes for an officer to respond to a call, he said.

The offices could be included in property the county already owns, meaning no expense would be passed on to taxpayers, DeHaven said.

DeHaven also wants to bring the D.A.R.E. program back into the county's schools and examine congestion at the two intersections of U.S. 11 and W.Va. 51 in Inwood, W.Va., where heavy traffic makes the area nearly impassable at times. Installing an officer to help with traffic control is a possible temporary solution, DeHaven said.

Working with the County Commission is a must, he said.

"Without that communication there's no way you're going to be able to plan for the future," DeHaven said.

DeHaven worked as a deputy with the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department in the early 1970s, where he became one of the department's first K-9 officers. He moved to the Martinsburg Police Department in 1980, where he continued to work as a K-9 officer. He worked as a bailiff after leaving the Martinsburg Police Department and served for three years as a magistrate before resigning to run for sheriff.

A lifelong county resident, DeHaven said he had dedicated himself to public service.

"I have given Berkeley County most of my adult life," DeHaven said.

He said he wants to leave this legacy behind: "Carlton DeHaven was a top-notch, really good sheriff," he said.

Randy Smith

Since he was elected four years ago, Berkeley County Sheriff Randy Smith said he has saved county residents more than $5.9 million in money saved or brought in, including $1 million saved in jail fees by creating a home confinement program and $692,000 saved by converting to a civilian bailiff system.

Smith, 57, said during the past four years he has expanded the sheriff's department's criminal investigative division and reinstated the K-9 program, with two K-9 officers now on staff.

He created an Arson Task Force and increased the number of volunteer reserve deputies from five to 30. He also increased the number of reserve cars from three to 18, saving an estimated $520,000 in costs that would otherwise would have needed to be paid to deputies as overtime.

Using COPS grant money, Smith has added six deputies to his staff, he said.

Smith said he prides himself on his open-door policy. If he is not in his office when someone calls, the caller is forwarded to a voice mail message in which Smith lists his cell phone number, pager number and home phone number.

If re-elected, Smith said he plans to continue expanding services, programs and manpower. He said he also hopes to continue the fight against drugs and continue increasing the number of DUI arrests. In 2001, 85 people were charged with DUI, compared to more than 200 by the end of last year, Smith said.

Smith, who is a lifelong county resident, worked for 13 years with the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department, starting in 1977, including 10 years as a criminal investigator. He then worked as a private investigator, bail bondsman and process server, he said.

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