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Former Shepherdstown police chief enters Berkeley County sheriff's race

January 25, 2008

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The former police chief of Shepherdstown, W.Va., who was dismissed from the job in August 2007 by the town's mayor, has filed to run for Berkeley County sheriff, according to the Berkeley County voter registration office.

Curtis E. Keller, of 106 Montmorency Drive, Bunker Hill, W.Va., is seeking the Democratic Party's nomination in the May 13 primary election, according to candidacy records.

"It's something I always wanted to do," Keller said of his candidacy in a brief interview Thursday. If elected, Keller said he would bring change to the department.

Keller retired with the rank of captain, but said he always wanted to go further and says he still has "the bug" to work in law enforcement.

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"I've always had it in my blood," Keller said.

Keller is the fifth man to file for the office of sheriff and the fourth Democrat, joining Charles C. "Chip" O'Roke, Kenneth (Kenny) Lemaster Jr. and Richard "Dick" Steerman, all of Martinsburg.

Carlton "Cootsie" Dehaven of Martinsburg was the only Republican to file for the office as of Thursday.

Candidacy papers for all county and state offices must be postmarked by midnight Saturday.

Keller was named Shepherdstown's interim police chief in December 2004 and then tapped for the job in March 2005 by former Mayor Peter Wilson.

He had retired from the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department and Wilson said he was the town search committee's No. 1 choice to replace Charles Cole.

In an interview on Aug. 17, 2007, the day Keller turned in his equipment and keys to the town police department, Mayor Lance Dom said that the former chief's departure came as a result of a failure to resolve their "differences in outlook" over a period of a month or so.

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