Created on Wednesday, 05 November 2008 Written by REUBEN MEES
If Andy Smith could have had one thing after winning the race for Logan County Sheriff by a nearly two-to-one margin Tuesday evening it would have been for his father to be there to see his accomplishment.
But, despite the fact that the former law enforcement officer is no longer alive, the son knows what advice his dad would have had to give.
A current administrative lieutenant under Sheriff Michael Henry, who is retiring after 21 years at the helm, Mr. Smith had to battle criticism of the office for actions of several deputies in the past four years that have reflected poorly on the office.
He defeated West Liberty Police Chief Ronald Murray, 39, who promised to bring fresh blood, a new perspective and accountability to the sheriff’s office, by an unofficial count of 13,565 to 6,984.
The sheriff-elect said he, too, will demand accountability and integrity among those who wear the uniform and will develop across-theboard policies to put an end to claims of unfair discipline and favoritism.
“I feel like this is an upset because we did have a lot of ground to make up from a few people’s bad actions,” he said. “It’s incredibly humbling that people put their faith in me to run the office.
“Now I feel an incredible sense of pressure to run a good sheriff’s office and a sheriff’s office people can look at with respect. I also have a great sense of duty to put into action what we have spent the last year and a half talking about,” Mr. Smith said.
Chief Murray wished his opponent success as sheriff and said he will work full-time to put the issues he has studied in-depth in the months leading up to the election into practice in West Liberty.
“It’s been an interesting experience and I’ve met a lot of interesting people,” Chief Murray said. “I wish Mr. Smith and the Logan County Sheriff’s Office the best of luck. I’m going to continue to work on (community policing) in West Liberty, Ohio.”
Tim Wren of Bellefontaine, whose family members were victims in a crime the sheriff’s office investigated, said despite criticism of the office, he believes the current deputies and other employees will do well under their new leadership.
“I’m happy Mr. Smith got elected,” Mr. Wren said. “I think the sheriff’s office is doing a good job, although everyone seems to downplay that.”
Mr. Smith said he will spend the coming weeks focusing on law enforcement priorities and beginning to review policies and procedures that are in place so he will be prepared to take the reins in January.
“It will be nice to be able to get back to work and focus on providing public safety to the community,” he said. “When I do take over, my priorities will be reviewing official policies and procedures, instilling a sense of professionalism in our employees and providing the best quality public service we can.”