SULLIVAN COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Current Sullivan County Sheriff Clark Cottom is leaving the department after eight years in that role.
Three men are now battling for the title of sheriff.
Billy Snead and Randy Beller are seeking the Republican nomination while Jason Bobbitt is running unopposed as a Democrat in the May 3 primary.
Snead has over 30 years of experience in law enforcement, currently serving as lieutenant and a field training officer with the sheriff’s office. He’s also a part time town marshall for Dugger after holding the position two times previously.
“I want the community to know we are the good guys and we are here for them,” he added.
His opponent, Beller, has been in law enforcement for 18 years serving as the county’s law enforcement instructor and deputy coroner.
“I want to see lives change. As sheriff, it puts me in a better position to do that,” Beller stated.
Finally, in the Democratic seat is Bobbitt with 26 years of experience, 23 with the Sullivan County Sherriff’s Office and 3 with the Vincennes Police Department.
“I want to be the people’s sheriff. I’d be honored,” he said.
A priority for all three men is the creation of a reserve program to increase visibility in the community.
For Snead, he’d also like to see more involvement with the community and school.
“We will be more proactive. We’re going to have a reserve program to fulfil voids and get some extra patrols on the roads,” he added.
Beller added on top of also creating his own reserve program, he’d encourage the community to more involved with deputies through ride-a longs and participation at the county jail.
“We need to build relationships with school administrators, students and and their parents. We need to build relationships with the community,” Beller said.
Bobbitt also said he would like to create a reserve program in Sullivan County.
A new jail is expected to be built in Sullivan. For more information on the project, click the link below.
A concern of Beller’s is the lack of treatment options for inmates. He proposes implementing programs in the new jail to ensure offenders are set up for success.
‘We have no addiction programs in our jail. We have nothing ready for them on the outside so that needs to change,” Beller added. “We need to start programs, educational programs, and family training for these people. We need to provide help.”
Under his watch, Snead said he would run an ‘efficient operation’ while offering help to those who need it.
“I would want to run it with respect for everyone. I would get some good rehab for offenders. I would treat that jail like it’s my home because the people of Sullivan County paid for that jail,” Snead said.
Bobbitt said being proactive with the facility will be a big help as the county faces increased drug crime. “As far as rehab and recovery go, I think that’s very important. I’d like to use the facility to the best of my abilities,”
According to the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department, 337 people were arrested for drug related offenses last year.
That comes out to almost a person a day.
“We need to be tough on the dealers and those bringing drugs into our communities. We need to work with our prosecutors, our drug task force and send a clear message that that kind of crime will not be tolerated in Sullivan County.” Beller said.
A survey conducted in the area indicates that 84% of residents believe the county lacks resources to help users.
“I’m really big on getting the drugs off of the streets and the only way you can do that is going after the dealers. If we go after the dealers, that’s going to slow down the drugs that come in our county,” Snead said.
Bobbitt said the war on drugs will be a difficult battle for anyone, but the county needs to keep the streets safe.
“Drugs aren’t going away, but we have to continue to work with all surrounding agencies and do our best to work together as a team. It doesn’t matter what color uniform you have as long as we get these guys off the street,” Bobbitt said.