Candidates for Fayette County Sheriff

BOBBY RILES
• Current occupation: Incumbent Fayette County Sheriff
• Age: 68
• Education: Graduate of Fayette County High School, Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy Basic Police School, Tennessee Highway Patrol Basic Recruit School
• Family: Wife, Doris, four children, five grandchildren
• Organizations: Chairman of Board – 25th Judicial Drug Task Force, Fayette County E-911 Board, Tennessee Sheriff’s Association, National Rifle Association
• List three significant issues in this election.
A. Protecting and educating our children to prevent school violence/bullying
B. The prevalence of illegal prescription drug use and how it has ushered heroin into Fayette County
C. The prevalence of gangs in Fayette County, particularly the dangers they pose to our youth
• Specifically, how do you plan to deal with each of these issues, if elected?
A. We are actively working to provide classroom interaction with students to speak to the dangers of bullying and school violence. Part of this involves partnering with the schools to provide an officer to work with students in a community oriented after-school program.
Additionally officers are working directly with teachers and administrators to recognize signs and prevent problems before they occur.
Furthermore, we cannot live in a state of denial with regard to the possibility of school violence. We are working to create active shooter safety plans with the schools.
With the cooperation of the school system, it is my plan to provide training and drills for teachers and students so that they will know what to do in an active shooter situation.
B. Illegal prescription drug sales and prescription drug abuse is one of the largest narcotics issues our county faces.
Prescription drugs have now become the new “gateway” drug enticing our youth. The addiction to prescription pain pills has ushered heroin into West Tennessee and Fayette County.
As Chairman of the 25th Judicial Drug Task Force, I will continue to use our investigative resources to perform undercover operations to locate prescription dealers.
In addition I will use Tennessee’s doctor shopping and insurance fraud laws to seek prosecution against those who manipulate our medical system to obtain the drugs illegally to sell them.
C. Since being elected first in 2006, we have worked to partner with groups such as the Tennessee Gang Investigator’s Association, where one of our officers was elected as Southwest Tennessee Director. Our agency began hosting monthly intelligence meetings with the municipalities within as well as agencies surrounding Fayette County.
This information sharing has allowed us to create a database of known gang sets and gang members within the county. This allows us to use gang enhancement statutes to leverage stiffer penalties and longer sentences to help remove gang members from the streets.
In addition, we are working to educate and mentor the youngest members of our county in an attempt to deter young men and women from becoming involved in gang activity to begin with.
• What do you think is the biggest concern facing the county at this time?
The problems posed by narcotics, particularly those of prescription narcotics abuse are of biggest concern. The vast majority of the criminal activity that we experience can be tied back to this one issue.
The burglaries and thefts we investigate are generally the result of someone trying to support a drug problem. Even the violence we investigate mostly stems from either drug related transactions or individuals who are under the influence of narcotics. Now that heroin is fast becoming a drug of choice, drug overdose deaths are occurring at an alarming rate with Fayette County being no exception to the trend.
• What specifically makes you best qualified for the position you are seeking?
I grew up in Fayette County and I am fully aware of the problems that are faced in my home county.
Having dedicated the last 32 years specifically to serving and protecting the citizens of Fayette County, I am familiar with the crime hot spots as well as many of the offenders.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation statistics show that since being elected in 2006, our efforts have caused a 45-percent reduction in crime. Burglaries are down 66 percent. Aggravated assaults are down 59 percent.
Our highway lifesaving efforts have resulted in one of the most significant DUI fatality rate reductions in the state of Tennessee.
Fayette County has gone from being ranked the ninth highest Tennessee county for DUI fatalities all the way down to number 88 of the 95 counties.
These numbers show that our efforts are working and I will continue these crime-fighting efforts to keep our citizens safe.
I care about the county that I call home as well as all of its residents and I will uphold my Oath to serve the citizens of Fayette County.

RICK JEWELL
• Current occupation: Law enforcement professional seeking office of Fayette County Sheriff
• Age: 66
• Education: AAS degree Southwest Tennessee Community College
• Family: Married 47 years to Rebecca Jewell. Three grown children.
• Organizations: Member of the National Rifle Association and National Drug Enforcement Officers Association
• List three significant issues in this election.
1. Drugs
2. Gangs
3. Educating our youth and school personnel with drug, alcohol, gang, active shooter and bullying awareness. Also teaching driver education and school security to protect our teachers and students.
Monitoring the health and well being of the elderly and senior citizens in our community.
• Specifically, how do you plan to deal with each of these issues, if elected?
With 43 years of law enforcement experience and a member of the Memphis-Shelby County Metro Narcotics Unit for 11 year, I have the knowledge, experience and work ethic to investigate and infiltrate these gangs and drug organizations and dismantle them.
No other candidate has this experience or expertise in drug investigations.
Studies have shown for years that 80 percent of all crime is drug related. Drug investigation has been my passion my entire career and an extensive drug investigative background is essential in reducing crime.
We do not want the crime and subsequent problems that burden Memphis and Shelby County.
I will certify and train officers to work with our youth and in our schools in the areas of drugs, alcohol, gang, active shooter and bullying awareness.
I will also educate our students and school faculty on school security issues. With traffic accidents being the leading cause of death for teenagers, I will institute free driver education classes for our youth.
I will institute a program to monitor the health and well being of our senior citizens and elderly thru volunteer service.
• What do you think is the biggest concern facing the county at this time, and why?
As stated earlier, 80 percent of all crime is drug related. The lifeblood of gangs is drugs. Therefore, an unrelenting attack on drugs is essential to reduce crime in our county.
On our western doorstep sits one of the most violent, crime ridden cities in America in Memphis. We must send a message to the criminal element that Fayette County will be no safe haven for criminal activity. This can only be done by a serious and continuing drug enforcement effort by the Sheriff’s Department.
• What specifically makes you best qualified for the position you are seeking?
I am not a career politician. This is my first venture seeking public office. I have been in law enforcement for 43 years including 26 years with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Dept.
I have been police chief in Rossville, Oakland and Millington and assistant police chief in West Memphis, Ark.
Election year rhetoric is self serving and laughable to the criminal element. We need real change and a new direction for our county and Sheriff’s Department.
The office of sheriff belongs to you, the taxpayer, not an individual or political movement. Fayette county citizens expect and deserve accountability and honesty from their sheriff.
Change comes from the top. I will be proactive and have zero tolerance for drugs, gangs and criminal activity in our community.
With your support, we can secure our future and preserve our beloved county for future generations.