Vilvens signs with Mount St. Joseph SBAAC awards girls tennis all-stars Layman inducted into Miami University Athletic Hall of Fame SBAAC hands out awards to First Team girls’ soccer all-stars John D Marks Fourteen indicted by Brown County Grand Jury Commissioners donate to task force Voters return Worley to the bench Georgetown Police Department welcomes new officers Ruby A Ratliff Donna J Moore Stella M Glasscock Ellen L Gelter Alverda T Guillermin Justin N Beach EHS dedicates ‘Kiser Court’ SBAAC awards First Team football all-stars, winning teams Sizer earns SBAAC American Division Volleyball Player of Year honors for 3rd straight year Broncos to host Blue Jays for OHSAA ‘Jimmy Young’ Foundation Game, Nov. 17 Vern W Kidd Jr Brown County Election Results – 2017 Michael D Hines Raymond W Napier Leslie E Boyle Gary L Barber Meth makes a comeback The bomber crash of 1944 4-H holds ‘shootout’ with BCSO County jobless rate falls Russell K Wolfer SHAC recognizes volleyball all-stars SHAC cross country all-stars take home awards Eastern girls finish runner-up in SHAC golf standings Week 10 football roundup Kathleen J Bright Sister Marjean Clement Veterans Service Office Moves G’town FFA has great fair Bald Eagles spotted 2017 Celebration of Lights being planned Eight indicted by grand jury Carlos L Beck Georgetown XC teams qualify for regional championship meet Warriors advance to Div. II Regional Meet Lady Rockets reach end to successful volleyball season Week nine football roundup Lady Warriors regional bound Amy J Caudill Bertha Lindsey Bobby S Conley Body found in ditch, investigation underway Former Aberdeen Fiscal Officer pleads guilty Keeping kids safe on the school bus Mary E Hahn Gary R Cornette Week 8 football roundup Notable soccer season reaches end for G-Men Lady Broncos are SBAAC American Division XC champs SHAC XC title goes to Lady Warriors Arthur Smith Eugene M Jennings Jr Billy R Kilgore Sr Carol D Roberts Thelma L Gray Sheriff Ellis meets President Trump Quarter Auction to pay for fire engine restoration Upcoming Quarter Raffle, Oct. 14 to benefit PRC Man found dead in ditch Rev Alvin B Woodruff Jackson L Russell Lady Broncos bring home 11th SBAAC American Division title in 12 years Lady Rockets wrap up regular season Warriors rally for win Broncos make it two in a row Helen L Whalen Veterans saluted at the Brown County Fair Fayetteville cancels school after threat Tommy J Stamper Sue Day Broncos move closer to SBAAC American Division title Lady G-Men working hard, showing improvement Sports complex soon to open in Mt. Orab Week 6 football roundup H Ray Warnock Jennings faces multiple sex offenses Georgetown nears water system completion Bible Baptist Barbeque brings big crowd Linda Taylor Rene Sizemore-Dahlheimer Eugene Snider Eric Workman Gregory Terry Edith M Moore Eileen Womacks Michael C Jennings Janice K Brunner Cheer squads compete at ‘Little State Fair’ Truck, tractor pulls draw a crowd at Brown County Fair Week 5 football roundup Lady Broncos rise to 11-6 with win over Batavia

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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