Roger Garretson of Wellsburg announced he will seek the office of Brooke County sheriff in the May 8 primary election.
A Democrat, Garretson has 20 years experience as a licensed private investigator and holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and a master's degree in safety.
He is a certified firearms instructor and was a criminal justice instructor at West Liberty State College from 1997-99.
"My law enforcement motto is 'Out and about keeps the criminals out,'" Garretson said.
"Living in our ever-changing, complicated world with terrorism, drug dealers, home invasions and violent crime rates trending upwards, we as Brooke County citizens need to think outside of the box. We can no longer say, 'That will never happen here.' It's time for a change in Brooke County.
"We need to have a contingency plan for every manmade disaster or emergency that can or may occur," he said.
Garretson is a Navy veteran who served during the Libyan crisis and Operation Desert Storm.
He has 13 years experience in military law enforcement, as well as chemical and biological warfare training, experience as an anti-terrorism trainer and as a member of a special operations team for threats against the U.S. involving nuclear weapons.
"As a member of the military law enforcement community, I had the pleasure of working at the U.S. embassy in London," he said. "During that time it was an honor and privilege to serve on a president's security force. I had the privilege of working closely with the London Police Department and the U.S. Secret Service, assisting in the protection of President Reagan during his stay in England."
Garretson added that after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he was called upon by the West Virginia Army National Guard to help protect its facilities around the state.
He said if elected, he will seek funds to keep the sheriff's department's school resource officers in schools on a full-time basis; work to protect children and seniors from crimes involving the Internet; and assign deputies full-time to a detectives division within the department and to the Brooke-Hancock-Weirton Drug Task Force.
"I will personally and actively pursue the drug dealers who are threatening our children's lives with illegal drugs and prescriptions," Garretson said.
He added he would work with the West Virginia State Police to identify registered sex offenders living in the county, maintain checks on them and establish a street crimes task force with city police departments to identify and address areas with high crime rates.
Garretson said, "I have conservative values. As a hunter and National Rifle Association instructor, I am an advocate of our 2nd Amendment rights. I feel we should not punish the hard-working, law-abiding taxpayer with increasing legislation to take away gun rights. Let's punish the offenders.
"I characterize leadership as not only the authority to supervise, but the ability to promote a shared vision, enable others to act and lead by example," he added.