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Candidates: Prescription drug abuse key issue

Oct. 07, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

WAYNE -- The two candidates for Wayne County Sheriff can agree on at least one thing: Substance abuse is a key issue which must be addressed.

Incumbent Democrat Greg Farley and Republican challenger Chad Shaffer both pointed to the problem of drug and prescription drug abuse as a major issue in keeping Wayne County's communities safe.

"Our first priority is always safe schools, but to keep our schools safe we have to incorporate our drug problem and fight that diligently," Farley said, pointing to a house recently raided for drugs within 100 feet of a school in Fort Gay, W.Va. "We're pounding this area with drug arrests. As long as they're stupid enough to go back into the drug business, we're going after them. We're not going to allow it."

Shaffer called the substance abuse crisis his No. 1 concern.

"People tell me about corruption in Wayne County politics, and there's some legitimacy to that, but we need to tackle the drug issue," Shaffer said. "We need to look at some alternatives for getting people to drug court. There's too much overcrowding in our prisons. There needs to be some leeway with first-time offenders who complete drug courts.

"Let's help people better themselves and reunite them with their families," he continued. "I'd like to see everyone better themselves. There are things that can be done. We're just not doing them."

Farley said one area he's been most proud of during his tenure as sheriff is the update in equipment and software, both for his officers and the tax office.

"We just upgraded our tactical weapons with see-in-the-dark scopes and our non-lethal weapons such as tasers and bean bag rifles," he said. "In the tax office, we upgraded with new data programming to better serve the public, and we're working to be able to take a credit or debit card at the window to make things easier for the taxpayers. We're also maintaining a field office in Ceredo so people don't have to come all the way to Wayne."

Shaffer said he would also like to see the tax office capable of accepting credit and debit cards and added a few other initiatives he'd like to implement if elected.

"I'd like to see more involvement in the community with ROTC programs, for example, as well as a mobile office to go out into our communities and make things more accessible for seniors and for paying taxes," he said. "And, I think there's always room for better safety procedures and upgrades, such as a dedicated forensics section for the department. There are things we need to get up to date on."