WETZEL COUNTY - Four Democrats are seeking to become the next Wetzel County sheriff.
Running for the office in the May 8 primary election are Rob Haught, John Brookover, Mark Eller and Jeff Montgomery. No Republicans filed for the office. Current Sheriff James Hoskins is term limited.
- Haught, 52, is a 1977 graduate of Magnolia High School and attended West Liberty University. He is a graduate of the West Virginia State Police Academy and a certified law enforcement instructor who has received advanced training at Quantico, Va., and Glencoe, Ga.
"I believe this is very important. A lot of that training is in management and leadership," said Haught who also is on the special Response Team and is a U.S. Special deputy on the fugitive task force for the U.S. Marshal's office. His goals for the office are to create a satellite office at Short Line, drug task force with surrounding areas, senior citizens advisory panel, as well as address the mental hygiene transportation issue that is draining the department's budget.
- Brookover, 64, recently retired from sheriff's department after 26 years as a deputy. He is a 1966 graduate of Magnolia High and served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam. He is a graduate of the State Police Academy. Brookover's main goal is to protect and serve the public. "I believe I treated the citizens of the county with respect and honesty," said Brookover, who said he gained knowledge, training, and experience as a deputy who served under four different sheriffs. "I will do the best I can."
- Eller said being Wetzel County's sheriff is "a dream I've always had." If elected, he would be following in his grandfather Yonsell's footsteps. A lifelong resident of Wetzel County, Eller is a 1986 graduate of Magnolia High. "I want to conduct meetings throughout the county," said Eller of his main objective if elected. "I want to set up an anonymous hotline. We've got to fight the drugs. If we get rid of some of the drugs, some of the other crimes will be taken care of."
- Montgomery, 46, is a 1984 Magnolia graduate and a union member in the construction industry for 28 years. Montgomery has been a certified safe gun instructor for 18 years and is a 30-year member of the National Rifle Association. If elected, Montgomery hopes to continue school programs, create a drug task force to stop influx of drugs, start a search and rescue team, and contract services with Hundred, Pine Grove, Paden City, and New Martinsville. He says doing the latter would allow for quicker response time, better protect and serve the citizens, and save the towns money. He would also like to create a broad notification system to let citizens know of crimes taking place, for their protection, and to meet with a drilling alliance to address safety and concerns.