GREENUP Four Democrats and two Republicans are vying to fill the role of Greenup County Sheriff, an office that has been occupied by Democrat Keith Cooper since 1999. Cooper has opted against running for a sixth term.
Those seeking election are Democrats Richard “Rick” Craft, Glen Riley, Matt Smith and Bob Stewart and Republicans Mike Leonhart and Larry Morris.
Richard “Rick” Craft
Richard “Rick” Craft is currently a police officer for the City of Greenup and believes his years of law enforcement experience makes him a qualified candidate for Sheriff.
“I have been a deputy sheriff in Greenup County since October of 2010 and I know where I can make changes to help the citizens of Greenup County,” which include “knowing the areas that have the highest amount of crime and heightened drug problems,” Craft said.
The 49-year-old is a graduate of Greenup County High School and the Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training.
This is the Democrat's first run for political office and as far as what the candidate would like to achieve if elected, Craft says school safety tops his list.
“My number one priority is going to be the schools throughout Greenup County,” Craft said.
He desires to personally speak with students and work with staff to ensure they feel safe and have the protection they need and deserve, he explained.
Craft places much importance on upcoming generations.
“I would like to help make Greenup County a place where outr kids will want to live when they grow up,” he said.
Craft said, as Sheriff, he would place importance on improving working relationships with other area law enforcement agencies “and work together with them on the drug problem that we have here in Greenup County.”
Craft's ultimate goal is to provide protection to the citizens of Greenup County.
“We are paid by the taxpayers of this county and they are the people we work for, so we will give them the protection that they deserve,” Craft said.
Democrat Glen Riley, 49, has 26 years of experience in law enforcement. He retired from the Flatwoods Police Department as a sergeant and currently works as a Raceland Police Officer as well as a utility worker for CSX.
He believes his education adds to his value as a candidate for Sheriff. Riley graduated from Greenup County High School and went on to graduate from the Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training Police Academy, received a degree in Police Administration from Eastern Kentucky University and graduated from the Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training Academy of Police Supervision. He also noted his military service during Desert Storm as a Sergeant in the army.
In regards to his qualifications Riley said, “I will be a strong communicator, problem solver and decision maker. As a small business owner, I feel qualified in the collection and management of tax revenue.”
If elected Sheriff, Riley said his priorities will revolve around a safe county and fiscal responsibility.
“I am a supporter of the Second Amendment rights and will work to ensure that Greenup County is a safe place to live and visit,” he said. “Concerning the opioid epidemic, I will work with the District Attorney as well as state and federal agencies to go after those who traffic and deal drugs.”
“I will create and lead a task force comprised of school officials, law enforcement, county officials and first responders to ensure our schools remain safe,” Riley continued. “There are many needs that demand fiscal resources and I will work to make the most of taxpayer dollars.”
Matt Smith is a former Greenup Sheriff's Deputy.
The 45-year-old Democrat is a graduate of Russell High School, has a bachelor of science degree in Police Administration from Eastern Kentucky University and graduated from the Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training Police Academy.
“I have had over 1,000 hours of additional training throughout my law enforcement career,” Smith said.
After graduating from EKU, Smith was hired as a Wurtland Police Officer and two years later made the move to the Sherrif's Department as a deputy.
His love of Greenup County and over 20 years of law enforcement experience is what he believes qualifies him to be the next Greenup County Sheriff.
“I am the best candidate due to my diverse nature and personality and my passion for the county that I value so much,” Smith said. “I have dedicated my entire adult life to the citizens of Greenup County as a full-time sworn officer. I have twenty plus years of law enforcement experience and the education needed to run an efficient Sheriff's office.”
Some of Smith's goals as Sheriff would be to have an Automated External Defibrillator in every cruiser, more visible patrol in rural areas, and prioritizing the duties specified for the Sheriff under Kentucky law.
“I understand the priority duties that the KRS stipulates that a Sheriff must do in Kentucky,” he said. “The top two are being a paper serving agency for the court and a tax collector.”
Other important issues for Smith are the drug epidemic and school safety.
“I will continue to battle against the ongoing drugs by keeping the community safe and educating our youth,” Smith said. “My goal is to have a D.A.R.E. officer within the Greenup County School System.”
Smith also said he will “maintain an open door policy with the Sheriff's office and provide strong leadership.”
Democrat Bob Stewart has 17 years of experience in law enforcement in both Kentucky and Florida.
Stewart completed the police academies with the Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. He also completed required Line Supervision courses in Florida.
“I feel that all the training that I have been through not only in Kentucky but also Florida as a Sergeant and Field Training Officer would make me a good candidate to ensure services were handled accordingly,” Stewart said. “I was responsible for scheduling, insuring that all paperwork was correct and all deputies followed procedures.”
The 41-year-old has six years of experience as an Administrative Sergeant with the Gilchrist County Sheriff's Department, worked at the Greenup County Sheriff's Department and currently works as a police officer with the City of Greenup.
“Being previously employed by the Greenup County Sheriff's Office, I have seen myself what needs to be addressed and changes that need to be made,” Stewart said.
As Sheriff, Stewart “would ensure that all calls are handled accordingly and that people would be treated with respect,” he said. “I want to be a hands on Sheriff and I believe in Justice for All. I am open to speak to anyone for any questions you may want answered.”
Stewart's top priorities are fighting the drug epidemic and school safety.
“I would work every day to help eliminate the drug problem that affects our citizens and families of our county,” he said. “I would add a narcotics detecting K-9.”
Stewart said he would increase the law enforcement presence at all schools in order to increase children's safety.
Republican Mike Leonhart is embarking on his first run for office.
Leonhart currently works as a Bellefonte Police Officer and as an operator at Centrus Energy Corp. Other previous work experience includes being Chief of the Greenup Police Department and a deputy sheriff.
Leonhart is a certified police officer with The Kentucky Law Enforcement Counsel, a graduate from the Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Academy and a graduate of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. He has completed approximately 1,600 hours of law enforcement training.
“I have a Q Clearance with the United States Department of Energy and have worked at the Portsmouth site as a Protective Force Officer and a Special Response team member,” Leonhart said about his qualifications. “I am a USW member and a Union Representative.”
If elected Sheriff, Leonhart said he will pledge to serve the people of Greenup with honor and integrity and lead an office the people can be proud of.
“As Sheriff I will better serve Greenup County by placing more deputies where they are desperately needed, patrolling the county,” Leonhart said. “If you call the Sheriff's Office needing help, someone will answer that call.”
His plan of action includes having a “dedicated detective to work cases,” he said. “I will have a deputy assigned to the FADE drug task force. I will implement programs in our schools aimed at keeping our children from trying drugs, much less addicted to them.”
Republican Larry Morris is running for Greenup Sheriff. The 69-year-old retired after working in public service for over 30 years.
Morris's law enforcement experience includes serving as the Chief of Police for the Wurtland Police Department. He is certified by the United States Marshal Service in Detention and Enforcement.
He was awarded the Goodwill Ambassador of Kentucky.
“I believe I will be the candidate you can trust and I will always be for the people of our great county,” Morris said.
Morris has five top priorities if elected to the office of Greenup County Sheriff. His first priority is to “tirelessly work on the drug epidemic.”
Next, Morris listed “better response times and attention to the community's needs (and) create a community board for feedback on issues and progress.”
Another topic that tops Morris's list of priorities are the financial responsibilities of the office. Morris said he will “balance the budget and be transparent where taxpayer money is being spent.”
Morris is committed to the safety of Greenup's children.
“A huge priority for me is to make sure our schools are safe,” he said. To do so, Morris plans to work with school personnel and “educate the public on how to spot trouble signs in youth.”
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