Former Wise County deputy Jake Elkins announced Monday that he is the Democratic nominee to fill the post that Sheriff Ronnie Oakes is leaving in 2020.
Elkins joins current Sheriff’s Department Assistant Sheriff Grant Kilgore, Coeburn Police Chief and former county deputy Scott Brooks and former Wise County commonwealth’s attorney Tim McAfee in contention for the sheriff’s post.
Kilgore, Brooks and McAfee are seeking the Republican nomination to succeed Oakes, who is the county’s longest-serving sheriff at 23 years.
Oakes has endorsed Kilgore’s candidacy.
In a statement Monday, Elkins cited his experience as a patrol division sergeant and response team member in the Wise County Sheriff’s Office and as a Coeburn Police Department officer. He said he is now employed in the mining industry.
“Wise County has an opportunity to set a different course of action for its Sheriff’s Department,” Elkins said. “I will restructure staff so that deputies have a heavy presence in our towns and neighborhoods, reducing response time, and offering real time protection to our most precious resource, our children.”
Kilgore, a 35-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department who has served through Oakes’ entire term, has said on his Facebook candidacy page that he will follow Oakes’ example in department professionalism, cooperation with other law enforcement agencies and in community relations.
Brooks, with 14 years’ experience as a county deputy and 25 years’ experience overall in law enforcement, has outlined two steps in his plan to ensure the safety of county residents. Step one includes an “aggressive approach to our drug epidemic” by cooperating with the Commonwealth’s Attorney to prosecute distributors and to have deputies be “proactive” in communities with trafficking complaints.
McAfee served as county Commonwealth’s Attorney for eight years and as a special prosecutor, special assistant U.S. Attorney, reserve county deputy and Pound police officer. On his Facebook page, he said he wants to focus on methamphetamine in what he called an “epidemic of horrific proportions.”
The Wise County Republican Party will hold a party primary June 1, from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., at the Norton Community Center next to Norton Elementary and Middle School to select between Kilgore, Brooks and McAfee.