Marshall County Chief Deputy Seeks Sheriff’s Seat
Marshall County’s chief deputy Bill Helms is seeking to take over the role of sheriff as the current one’s term in office expires next year.
Helms began his career in law enforcement 25 years ago with the Moundsville Police Department, where he reached the rank of sergeant before changing gears and moving to the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office.
In 2011, he was selected as Sheriff Kevin Cecil’s chief deputy, a role that Helms has maintained.
If elected, Helms said he will continue Cecil’s work with the investigations of the Marshall County Drug Task Force, established by Cecil’s predecessor John Gruzinskas, now a Marshall County Commissioner.
“When Gruzinskas was sheriff, he kicked off the DTF, and Kevin took over, kind of propped it up. I’ll continue to do that,” Helms said. “I truly believe that’s one of the services that helps the residents and passers-by in the county.”
Another of Helms’ focus was putting on a school resource officer in each school in Marshall County, as some schools rotate an officer between them, rather than having an officer on guard full-time.
“When you tell people that, they go, ‘That’s a lot of deputies,’ and I know that, but what more precious do we have than our children? None,” Helms said. “Those kids have a right to go to school and feel safe, just like the teachers have a right to feel safe. That’s a basic human need.”
In other areas, Helms wants to focus on making the public feel they can be more open and friendly with officers. He said many people second guess themselves when they might otherwise contact police, and he wants to dispel the apprehension they feel.
“We work for these people, but people are afraid to talk to us, and they don’t want to,” he said. “It’s important for them to be treated like their problems are important to us, and they should feel at ease to reach out to us at any time for anything, and if it doesn’t fall within the realm of law enforcement, it’s simple: tell them to call this person. The police are a resource for a lot of people, and they might not know, ‘Should I call the water department? Public defender’s office? DMV?’
“They don’t know, and I think that’s just the old-style policing that I like.
“People grow callous in their jobs, but you can’t do that when you’re dealing with folks. We exist at the will and pleasure of the people of the county.”
Thus far, Helms is the only announced candidate for the race. Cecil, who has served two straight terms, is not permitted to seek a third consecutive term.
The primary election will be held in May.