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Election Preview: Morgan Voters To Choose Sheriff From 3 Candidates

There are no Democratic candidates on the ballot in Morgan County for sheriff. But, there are three candidates on the Republican ticket. Polls are open 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 10.

Chief Deputy Wade Shambaugh, is running for sheriff. Current Sheriff Vince Shambaugh (Wade’s cousin) cannot run again because of the two-term limit. Wade Shambaugh said he would keep on Vince Shambaugh as his chief deputy.

Wade Shambaugh has spent 16 years in law enforcement for Morgan County. He was at the town of Paw Paw and Berkeley Springs before becoming chief deputy.  He has an additional ten years in contracted security work with the federal government. He said that helps in his work providing courthouse security.

He is an NRA-certified Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor and NRA F-Class (precision rifle) Expert. He said he has experience in all aspects of law enforcement including traffic control, supervision, investigations.

He said, “We’ve vastly improved training and use of resources and manpower under the current sheriff. We use a detailed policy and procedure manual adopted in 2009, written by Mark Smith of the West Virginia State Police Academy.”

Drug addiction is a major problem in West Virginia. Shambaugh said he’d continually address the problem on multiple fronts.

“We have a great working relationship with the Morgan County Partnership and Morgan County Schools,” Shambaugh continued. “We actively support education and drug prevention programs in the county. Our office provides free drug test kits to parents. We also sponsor a drug turn-in program and an anonymous tip line for the public.”

He said they have a network of informants, and aggressive patrol measures to combat the problem from a criminal activity standpoint. 

He listed three things he would do: 1) continue their policy of mandatory use of body cameras for deputies to help protect the deputy and the public; 2) update the policy and procedures manual, as laws, national standards and equipment change; 3) any time there is a major incident, such as a shooting involving a deputy, he would have it investigated by an outside agency. . (For example, body cameras and tazers.)

He said his actions and decisions in all 16 years never resulted in any lawsuit upon himself or the sheriff or colleagues. He believes the current sheriff is a tremendous asset and he’d like to keep him on the team.

“We’re at the peak of our game. We’re not politicians. We’re cops. I haven’t sought endorsements. The endorsements I want are from the people because of lives we saved or property we recovered.”

K.C. Bohrer said his 30-plus career in law enforcement began in Paw Paw.  He’s been a special deputy U.S. Marshal, special deputy for Morgan County Sheriff’s Dept., special investigator for Hampshire County Sheriff’s Dept. and FBI Task Force Officer. He’s currently employed with the Frederick County (Va.) Sheriff’s Dept. Criminal Investigations Division as a major crimes investigator.

Bohrer said, “I’m the first candidate ever who’s an FBI Academy graduate. I have over twice the amount of experience and specialized training in police work and law enforcement than any other candidate. Heroin overdoses are the norm. I’m the only candidate with significant experience in managing drug investigation and undercover operations. I’m the only one involved in task force and major drug investigations.”

He wants to implement neighborhood watch and sheriff’s cadet programs. He said he has colleagues in the quad-state region to assist in drug investigations.

“I will have a citizens’ advisory board which I announced last March, with open communications,” he added. “Sheriffs have term limits for a reason. I’ll bring a fresh set of eyes to the community.”

At a Republican dinner in April, he directed a comment at the current sheriff and chief deputy. “Running for sheriff is no different than applying for a job. If employers want good employees, they consider background, education, and references, not relatives or friends.”

Candidate Ronald Stotler has spent 27 years in public safety with the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. He rose through the ranks to Major at North Branch Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Maryland.  In this capacity, he said he commands 190 officers that oversee the safety, welfare, and humane confinements of a population of over 1,400 maximum security inmates. 

“I recognize no law enforcement agency can operate without participation and cooperation from citizens it serves. I will establish a citizens’ advisory council and meet with them monthly.”

He also said, “Each of us know someone who has been adversely impacted by the chronic availability of drugs in this county.  I will work closely with federal, state, and other local law enforcement officials to more effectively combat this number one problem that plagues our county.  As for the sheriff’s office, I will implement a random drug testing program for all sworn personnel, including myself.  This will serve to protect them, as well as establish credibility for the sheriff’s office.”