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Five Candidates In Catoosa County Sheriff

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Published on Jul 11, 2012

by John Pless The most contested race in Catoosa County is for sheriff with five republicans on the primary ballot. All five men have law enforcement experience, so what sets them apart?Putting similarities aside voters will have to decide what other experience and qualities they like. One of them will succeed Sheriff Phil Summers who is retiring after serving more than two decades. Catoosa is facing big challenges as one of the fastest growing communities in our region.Gary Sisk is taking leave from his job as Major in the Catoosa County Sheriff's Office. He has risen through the ranks of law enforcement and he's been a firefighter, an E.M.T. and most recently ran the day-to-day operations of his department. If elected Sisk wants to sharpen the focus on rehabilitating those arrested since 80% are repeat offenders."While we're doing rehabilitation with them I'd like to get the community involved, churches, civic groups and things of that nature and reach out to that person's family and see what we can also do to help that person's family," Sisk said.Larry Black said if elected he'll beef up drug enforcement and establish a sheriff's office substation near Fort Oglethorpe. His resume includes working with the Georgia State Patrol, Fort Oglethorpe, Catoosa County and the district drug task force."I've been in a number of leadership positions, management positions as police chief, drug task force commander, chief deputy as the sheriff's office, I'm just fortunate in my career that I'm well rounded  on the enforcement side," Black said.Ben Scott said he brings a new perspective to the race. He has served in Chattanooga's Police Department then became a federal DEA agent who retired as agent in charge at the local office."I was never involved with politics, you know in the federal government we have restrictions where you can't get involved in politics, so I was never involved with the system so I think I bring an independence to Catoosa County with a fresh perspective," Scott said.Mike Helton is on leave as Catoosa County Manager. He's been a Magistrate Court Judge and has 16 years law enforcement experience rising through the ranks in East Ridge and Catoosa County."I believe the unique blend of the three is what Catoosa County could really use now," Helton said. "We do need law enforcement leadership but we also need heavy administrative leadership and that's what I believe sets me apart as a candidate."It is a slate of well-qualified candidates with some tough choices for voters who want to keep their county free of the crime in neighboring communities.Early voter Dennis Turnbo said "it's very important, in our community they are responsible for everything in law enforcement so it's a super important job."The fifth candidate is Fort Oglethorpe Police officer Jeff Holcomb. He was working Monday and the law says he can't be involved with his campaign while on duty. You'll hear from him on Wednesday.

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