Real estate broker and businessman running for sheriff of Berkeley County

March 20, 2012
  • John Orem
Submitted photo

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Editor’s note: This is another in a series of Eastern Panhandle candidate previews that The Herald-Mail will be running over the next several months. The announcements also will be posted on our website, www., through the West Virginia primary on May 8. To submit announcements, email them and a color photo (preferably a jpeg) to or Any questions? Call 301-791-7281.

John Orem, a Republican and Martinsburg real estate broker and businessman, is running for sheriff of Berkeley County.

Orem, a Martinsburg High School graduate, was a Martinsburg police officer for 10 years, and owner of a security guard and private investigation agency.

His primary goals if elected are to move the department into a more community-oriented public safety operation, to address school bullying and other issues, to improve departmental morale and to revise work schedules to better police the county.

“I can have more deputies in sectors of the county during high-crime evening hours,” Orem said in a news release. “This will reduce criminal activity and increase deputy response times for 911 calls.”

The other Republican candidate for sheriff is James W. Barbour III of Martinsburg. The Democratic candidates are current Sheriff Kenneth “Kenny” Lemaster of Martinsburg; Michael W. Cox II of Bunker Hill, W.Va.; and Charles “Chip” O’Roke of Martinsburg. 

Orem hopes to improve the fiscal operation of the sheriff’s department by working closer with the court system and placing more nonviolent and petty crime offenders on home detention, which brings money into the county rather than incarceration in the Eastern Regional Jail, which he said costs money.

“I cannot stop crime altogether, but with administrative and operational changes within the department, I can make substantial improvements in the sheriff’s department operation and reduce crime,” he said in the release.

West Virginia’s primary is May 8.

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