A Look At Two Candidates In Heated Race For Pike Co. Sheriff's Seat
A political newcomer hopes to be the next Pike County sheriff- a position incumbent Sheriff Russell Thomas has held for 20 years and wants to keep.
This is the first time Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas is heading into the November election with an opponent since taking the seat in 1994. And even though we're still 4 months away, the back and forth's already started.
Political newcomer Jason Youngblood's been in local law enforcement for 18 years and spent 19 years in Alabama's Army National Guard. He's now announcing a new battle. JasonYoungblood, (R) Pike County Sheriff Candidate said, "So far this year there have only been three people arrested on multiple felony charges. We are on a dismal path this year that can be even worse than last year..It is my promise to you today that if elected, the pike county sheriff's office will wage a war on drugs."
But 20-year Sheriff Russell Thomas says his record speaks for himself.
Russell Thomas, (D) Pike County Sheriff said, "Just in the last four years, four years and 6 months, 55 cases for distribution of controled substances, 12 cases for promoting prison contraband...We welcome all the help we can get from the public and law enforcement, he's never offered, he's never made a case."
Issues in the Pike County jail are some of the things the two can agree on. Youngblood presented the crowd at his campaign event with pictures of inmates using social media from behind bars.
Sheriff Thomas says a lot of these issues stem from the fact that it's the fifth oldest jail in the state. And a box of confiscated cell phones is proof they aren't turning a blind eye.
Thomas said, "We have no escapes, we have no major riots, we have no major fights, things at the Pike County jail run smooth. Now you've got a few inmates that are texting and sending out pictures from inside the jail, that goes on in most every jail in the state."
Youngblood said, "There are actually victims of crime being contacted by the perpetrators of those crimes in jail."
This is one of the most watched and talked about cases in the county. Voters will have their chance to weigh in at the polls on November 4th
Youngblood says he is making the transition from the National Guard back to the Troy police department where he is a sergeant.
Sheriff Thomas says he's a member of several professional organizations, including being president for the Alabama Peace Officers Association this past year.