WHEELING - Mark Garrett has spent almost his entire adult life serving with the Wheeling Police Department, and now he wants to bring the skills he developed to City Council.
A GC&P Road resident, Garrett will run in the 4th Ward against other first-time candidates Keith Bell, Randy Berisford, Marjorie Klemm and David C. Miller.
"I had been contemplating running for City Council for some time, so when James Tiu announced he would not run for a second term, I talked it over with my family ... and decided, with their full support, I would run for 4th Ward City Council," he said, noting he is prepared for the time commitment involved with becoming a council member.
Photo by Zach Macormac
A former Wheeling police officer, Mark Garrett sets to improve relations between police and the community and to push for more neighborhood watch programs as 4th Ward councilman.
Garrett spent more than 22 years with the city police and held a role as president of the Fraternal Order of Police, Wheeling Lodge No. 38, for 10 non-consecutive years. Since 1985, he has run a small security alarm business out of his home.
"I am most concerned with residents' safety," he said. "I believe in the neighborhood Crime Watch program, and I would like to see this program implemented in all areas of the 4th Ward. If elected, I would be willing to make the initial contact with the police department for the residents."
He added he would work to open lines of communication between police and residents to allow better response to any type of crime from petty mischief to high-profile incidents.
He also wants the administration to be more accountable for any city project left undone or done slowly, such as a recent bridge project in the Greggsville area that took longer than expected. Furthermore, Garrett wants to "make sure the 4th Ward has a voice on City Council."
"Anyone that knows me knows that I am not afraid to speak up and voice my concerns," he said, noting he welcomes challenges to his opinions with "no grudges."
Other things on Garrett's mind include working more closely with Ohio County officials, carefully examining and perhaps reinventing local economic development strategies and hiring a grant writer within the Community Development Block Grant department to seek more funding and expand the city's agencies and community improvement efforts.
The 55-year-old has been a Wheeling resident since birth, attending the former Triadelphia High School and Marshall University. He graduated from the West Virginia State Police Academy and was certified to instruct the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program.
Since retiring from the police force, he started six years ago working part-time for the Wheeling Park Commission as a ranger and supervisor.
He is married to Wheeling Human Rights Commission Executive Director Theresa Garrett and has two children: Tara, who attends West Virginia Northern Community College, and Brian, at West Liberty University.