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ELECTION PREVIEW: Mercer County Sheriff

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MERCER COUNTY. WV (WVVA) -- The race for Sheriff is approaching, with incumbent Tommy Bailey, and independent Teddy White, as the only two candidates on the ballot.

Both were asked for the top three issues for voters when it comes to the Sheriff's office in Mercer County.

Bailey felt that there are two: the drug epidemic and domestic violence. He talks of his plan on how to fight these issues if re-elected.

"Working hand in hand with the drug task force, we're going to hire four more deputies. We're in the process of hiring four more deputies," explained Bailey. "Hopefully we can get them a little trained, we get them out and be proactive instead of reactive."

Bailey says that increased surveillance is key.

"Go out and hit hot spots, like complaints on drugs. People selling drugs-- we go out, make traffic stops in that area, and that would help a whole lot. Hopefully we can get back to that apart of being proactive."

Immediate and timely response plays a part in combating domestic violence says Bailey. "We work hand in hand with the magistrates office, we're issuing DVP's, we try to get those served as quickly as possible so no one gets hurt. Other than that, we respond to calls as quickly as possible, basically domestic violence calls."

Bailey's challenger, Teddy White, lists three areas where he feels voters want action from the Sheriff's office: more media coverage through the sheriff's office, better training for deputies to deal with mental health crisis calls, and better anti-drug options for kids in mercer county,

"Being very proactive and working with the media, hand in hand, I think that's tremendous and something that's being missed out on," White said. "Because if people see what you're doing, then you guys are the liaison to let people know 'Hey, we care about this, we're working on this'".

Adding additional resources for the community is something White also looks to achieve.

"I would also like to offer training and classes to people to help identify folks that are dealing with autism or some kind of mental heath crisis in itself," he said.

Some of the resources could include education on drug use, starting from a young age.

"I noticed we don't have a dare program. And I think part of the drug epidemic we're having here is that we're always being reactive to the problem, not proactive to the problem," said White.

Voters in Mercer County will decide if they want to see a new Sheriff in the county or continue under the leadership of the incumbent. They'll make that decision on election day.

Stay updated with WVVA for future election previews.

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Christina Kass

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