Four charged in overdose death Underage felonies strain county system Fayetteville looks forward to 2018 celebration Russellville council discusses underground tanks in village Marilyn A Wren Larry E Carter Virginia L McQuitty Practices get underway for fall sports Jays soon to begin quest for SHAC title Western Brown to hold Meet the Teams Night and OHSAA parent meeting Aug. 8 Norville F Hardyman Carol J Tracy James Witt Hundreds of Narcan doses used in 2016 Heavy weekend rain causes flooding and damaged roads Child Focus hosts Chamber of Commerce meeting Mary F McElroy Broncos out to defend SBAAC American Division soccer title Bronco 5K to take place Aug. 5 EHS volleyball team ready for new season Michael C Cooper Raymond Mays Harry E Smittle Jr Mary A Flaugher Western Brown’s Leto excels in Australia Rockets ready for 1st season in SBAAC Paddling, hiking activities available at Ohio State Parks SB Warriors get set to hit gridiron for 2nd year of varsity football Scotty W Johnson Glenna V Moertle Ricky L Hoffer Ruth E Ward David A Watson Janet L Dotson Vilvie S King Steven C Utter Cropper joins Fallis at Bethel-Tate Local kids find success in world of martial arts 13th annual Bronco 5K Run and Fitness Walk set for Aug. 5 Teams compete in memory of Randy Fulton Mike W Smith Roger Helton David A Borders Timothy E Argenbright Joseph W Sherrill Frances K Pedigo Cecil N Graham Sawyers charged in sex for heroin plot Group demands changes at ELSD Blanche Malblanc Pauline L Kirk Over 70 take part in 11th Joe Myers 5K Classic Lions Club 4th of July Festival brings outdoor fun to Ripley ODNR reminds visitors to swim safe this summer Changes in high school track and field/cross country rules include school issued and approved uniforms Betty L Philpott Judy B Williams Billie J Russell Remembering Ravye 25 attend volleyball camp in Fayetteville Western Brown hosts Pee Wee Football Camp Eugene L Baumann Kids enjoy a ‘Touch-a-Truck’ event in Mt. Orab New police chief takes over in Fayetteville BC Chamber moving forward on 2017 SummerFest Two killed in wrong way crash in Mt. Orab Jack Hamilton Charles L Glover Maxine M Stires Western Brown youth basketball camps a success Leto to represent Team USA in Australia Broncos hard at work in preparation for fall season Eastern approves bowling team Phyllis Ruth Lois A Manley Eddie L Carr Thomas L Carnahan Cameron Barkley Walter J McGee Gary J Graham George D Johnson Walter F Crawford Jr Charles E Meranda Jr Corbin testifies before Ohio Senate Five arrested in Hamersville drug bust Neil Diamond tribute band coming Hyde finds home at Midway Youngsters work to improve on hoop skills at Eastern basketball camps Sizer named All-District Honorable Mention Western Brown’s Barnes earns All-State, All-District honors Local players compete in SWOFCA Ron Woyan East/West All-Star Game 6th annual Ravye Williams Memorial 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament set for June 24 Clarence E Teal Rosie B Poe Monard C Boots James P Conrad James T Dinser Scott J Swearingen Eastern’s Farris earns award for top 2-point field percentage in Ohio Georgetown’s Seigla earns All-District honors

Benjamin running for sheriff

David Benjamin

The competition to become the next Brown County sheriff has become a two-horse race.

Ripley native and current Winchester Police Chief David Benjamin said he plans to run for the Republican nomination for Brown County sheriff in the March 2016 primary, joining current Brown County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Carl Smith in the race for the position.

“Strangely enough, it was never in my consideration,” Benjamin said in a phone interview with The News Democrat. “Probably about two years ago, my sister (Tessa Ellis) brought it up. I told her I wasn’t interested but she said, ‘Just think about it.’”

After some prayers and some time thinking about it, Benjamin decided to officially start his campaign for sheriff.

Benjamin has had a long career in law enforcement. At the same time as his graduation from Ripley High School in 1993, Benjamin completed his police course at Southern Hills Joint Vocational School.

After a few years in college and working at Rocky Fork State Park, Benjamin joined the Ripley Police Department full time, rising to the rank of lieutenant. He also served as a K-9 handler for five years.

Following a seven-year stay in Ripley, Benjamin left the police department to work in the private sector, working for Frito Lay, but his time there didn’t last long.

“I felt like I was lost,” Benjamin said. “I felt like I needed to get back in law enforcement.”

In December 2008, Benjamin joined the Winchester Police Department, and in October 2012, he took over for Greg Caudill and became the new police chief of the department.

Benjamin said his faith plays a big role in both his personal and professional life.

He prays with the people he arrests, he said, while they’re in the back of the police car on their way to the jail. Benjamin said only one person has rejected an offer to pray since he started this tradition two years ago.

“People that I’ve even sent to prison, they look at you with respect because you’re trying to help them turn their life around,” Benjamin said.

The sheriff candidate believes that faith and education can play a big role in solving some of the region’s problems, including ending the drug epidemic that’s only growing with every year.

“One thing I’ve already implemented and tried to do, which I started in Adams County, is drug awareness programs,” Benjamin said. “We’ve done it mostly in churches… We’ve got to educate the youth, we’ve got to educate the parents to know what to look for.”

Benjamin knows that money is tight for law enforcement these days. As police chief, he said he’s had to work with a tight budget. Through traffic stops and drug enforcement, he’s been able to raise enough money to operate his department on a small budget.

He hopes ramping up the traffic stops and being tougher on drugs could help raise more money to build a new jail in Brown County, for example.

He’s also pledged to follow up on some unsolved homicides that the BCSO has not given updates on, and vowed to be transparent with families who are hoping for any shred of information.

Benjamin has some ideas on how to give inmates in the Brown County Adult Detention Center a better chance to have a good life after they’re released from jail.

“Throughout the jail, we don’t have a lot of services available right now,” Benjamin said. “We used to have GED classes. Some of the people who don’t go to jail don’t have an education so they can’t get a job. I’d like to see the GED classes back in there and any other classes such as job training.

The veteran officer also said that, as a sheriff, it’s important to have a strong presence in the community but to also be approachable.

“Every year, we do an event called the Night Out. It allows the kids to get closer to the police officers, firefighters and EMTs, and lets them see what our job is and the equipment we use. It’s been a huge success.”

There’s still plenty of time for other potential candidates to enter the field. Candidates for sheriff must acquire at least 50-150 signatures on a petition and file it by Dec. 16 to be eligible for the March 2016 primary, according to the Brown County Board of Elections.

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2016 News Democrat