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Three vying for Randolph County Sheriff

Rob Elbon

Rob Elbon resigned as a Randolph County Magistrate in January to campaign as a Republican candidate for Randolph County Sheriff.

In 1984, Elbon was hired by then-Sheriff John C. Arbogast as a part-time bailiff/part-time process server for Randolph County. The following year, he was hired as a correctional officer for the Randolph County Jail and successfully completed the West Virginia Corrections Academy.

Less than a year later, Elbon was promoted to chief correctional officer at the facility before going to work for the United States Marshal Service as an intermittent deputy United States marshal. In that role, he was responsible for transporting prisoners and working in the Federal Court, serving warrants across the Northern District of West Virginia. He continued in that position until 1995.

In 1995, Elbon was hired as a deputy sheriff for the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office, where he spent the next 10 years, earning many accolades.

Elbon graduated third in his class from the West Virginia State Police Academy in 1996; attended many training classes and acquired several certifications in law enforcement through Marshall University while completing the WVSP Academy training; was certified in Advanced Auto Crash Investigation in 1998; and was certified as a Highway Crash Reconstructionist through the University of North Florida, located in Jacksonville, Florida, also in 1998.

In 2004, Elbon retired from the force with 20-plus years of service to the county.

Following his retirement from the sheriff’s office, Elbon went to work for the United States Marshal Service as a court security officer, protecting Judge Robert Earl Maxwell and other federal judges who presided over court hearings in Elkins at the Jennings Randolph Federal Building.

He has also spent the majority of his life — since the age of 14 years old — serving the community in different capacities through the Tygart Valley Fire Company and Elkins Fire Department.

Elbon said if elected he will work hard as sheriff to assist with many of the problems plaguing the county, with a strong emphasis on combating drugs and homelessness, as well as promoting drug education and awareness to youth.

His goals include enhancing safety in communities by increasing patrols and working toward 24-hour deputy presence, actively pursuing drug traffickers and slowing the trade and usage of opiates and other deadly drugs; combating homelessness throughout the county, educating children about drug-free lifestyle alternatives and promoting anti-drug and anti-bullying campaigns throughout the county and school system, assigning a deputy to every county school to develop a relationship with each child in the school as well as offering support to teachers and staff and expanding the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program.

1) Your campaign slogan is “Take Back Randolph County.” What does that mean and how would you accomplish that goal?

In order for us to live life to the fullest, it’s critical that we feel safe and secure in our homes and communities. This is a very basic premise, yet many of our community members do not feel they have this security. To me, this is absolutely unacceptable. I believe in Randolph County and its people. I’m ready, willing, and able to put in the work and do my very best to address the underlying problems we are currently experiencing. These issues include drug-related crimes against people and property, homelessness, and many other serious problems I witnessed while serving as Randolph County magistrate. I resigned from that position specifically so that I could have the opportunity to address these problems directly. That is why I am asking for your vote as Randolph County sheriff. I am dedicated to restoring the same opportunities and sense of safety I enjoyed when I was a child growing up in Randolph County.

Taking back Randolph County is more than a campaign slogan – I have made it my mission. It means restoring faith in our community members to be able to confidently live their lives free of fear. For example, I want all of our children to be able to safely play outside without the risk of falling on a needle or be approached by somebody who may pose a danger to them as a result of being under the influence of powerful mind-altering substances. Our hardworking community members should be able to work and live their lives without constantly worrying about their property and personal safety. This is extremely important to me. I refuse to sit on the sidelines and watch our communities fall deeper into chaos.

My priorities include taking to the streets and directly working to enhance public safety. I plan to do this by bringing 24-hour service to every community in the county, following up on every single tip from vigilant community members, aggressively pursuing drug traffickers and holding them accountable, addressing homelessness, drug addiction, and mental health issues by working to form a law enforcement-community-based partnership, assigning a deputy to every school to intervene promptly at the first sign of concern and provide our children additional support with any issues they may be facing, renewing federal funding for the new D.A.R.E. Program in our local schools, and promoting education and healthy alternatives for youth. I have a solid plan to accomplish these goals and am fully committed to doing my best to follow through.

I stand ready to lead you in this mission, but I cannot do it alone. I encourage all community members to visit my campaign website to learn more about my mission to Take Back Randolph County: https://robelbon.com.

The issues we face are huge. They have been developing for many years and we will not solve them overnight. Success will take the effort of our entire community. I would like to encourage all community members to get involved, provide input, and take action. Updates are available on my Facebook Page. You can connect with other concerned citizens there and message me, as well: https://www.facebook.com/ForRandolphCountySheriff.

I would like to see us all come together in this effort. If you are reading this and would like more clarification, have a suggestion or question for me, or would like to submit a tip, please feel free to call me directly at: (304) 704-6475.

I assure you that we CAN take back Randolph County. Our goals are within reach with hard work, dedication, and strong leadership. I am ready to put in the work on my end and lead this fight. I hope you will join me.

2) What would you do as sheriff to combat the county’s drug problems?

The substance abuse issues that have been destroying lives and tearing families apart throughout Randolph County involve a multitude of underlying concerns. As a community, we must focus on each of these issues and address them in the strongest possible way. Although these root causes are broad, the good news is that we know what drives drug addiction – and we know what works. We’ve seen it in communities throughout the nation. I believe that it is beyond time to implement these actions in Randolph County.

As sheriff of Randolph County, I will do everything within the power granted to me to combat the drug problems and drug-related crimes we are facing in the most strategic and effective way possible.

First of all, I plan to bring 24-hour law enforcement service to our local communities with an increased deputy presence. This increased manpower and visibility is not only a proven deterrent, it will allow us to take faster and more direct action, and promptly follow-up on tips. I plan to hold regular meetings to share and compare information with my deputies to more effectively and aggressively pursue drug traffickers, get them and the drugs they peddle off the streets and away from those oppressed with the scourge of addiction, and hold these criminals accountable. This is essential. We must also address the underlying issues our community members are facing.

Although legal action is often warranted, incarceration alone is simply not an effective long-term solution in any sense. The cost of incarceration falls on you, the taxpayers of Randolph County. It does not work and we know it. These people desperately need access to treatment.

I am encouraging local community agencies to take steps now to ensure they have applied for all available federal funding to strengthen and improve local drug addiction and mental health treatment efforts. A wide range of federal grants and other funding options are available to help pay for these services and we are eligible to receive them. Communities throughout the nation are witnessing exceptional results in both cost-effectiveness and long-term success with comprehensive community-based programs and I would really like to bring this type of solution to Randolph County. They’re just so effective. On a personal level, I have dedicated my time and my own funds to assist in these efforts. I would like to help hasten the progress of exploring and implementing the development of a law enforcement/community-based partnership, as well as expanded access through new treatment programs and facilities for substance abuse disorder.

Drug addiction and mental health treatment makes sense for the health and stability of our community – and our wallets. Through increased law enforcement presence, we will also be better able to quickly identify individuals that can benefit from these services and get them the help they need.

Addiction can happen to anyone. I have witnessed it. I support assisting those who have, for whatever reason, have fallen into the trap of addition and clearly need help, when they are willing to work on their recovery, rejoin the work force, and contribute as active members of society. In Randolph County, we don’t abandon our own. That is not what we’re about at all. As your sheriff, I will be tasked with protecting and serving ALL community members. When we Take Back Randolph County, we will bring those who have fallen back with us whenever possible, as well.

It is my hope that funding will be in place to allow for full implementation of an effective law enforcement/community-based partnership in Randolph County. If you work with one of these groups, please reach out to me. I am ready to begin working with you immediately. Call me directly at: (304) 704-6475.

To any victims of drug addiction who may be reading, I want you to know that I want to offer you all the help I can to help you get your life back. Your life matters. I am not your enemy. I want to help you. Please, if you are ready to accept help, reach out to me or to one of our local treatment centers.

We need to reach our youth as early and effectively as possible. We must provide the information and resources they need to avoid falling victim to addiction and make the best choices for their futures. This is an area I am particularly passionate about.

It is absolutely heartbreaking to witness children in our communities make poor choices simply because they believe no other option is available to them. When working as a youth T-Ball and football coach, and the ReMix Education program, I witnessed the dramatic changes that can happen when caring adults simply offer a bit of their time, support, and encouragement. As your sheriff, I plan to continue promoting education and healthy alternatives with an expanded range of programs that provide solid anti-bullying and anti-drug abuse messages and support. I also want to ensure that children in every school in Randolph County will have regular access to a trusted member of law enforcement so that they can get additional support with a wide variety of issues that may come up, as well.

As your sheriff, I am ready and prepared to actively engage and use all means at my disposal to combat the damages, death, and destruction that illicit drugs have wreaked on our communities.

3) Do you feel the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department needs more deputies?

Yes. Absolutely. There is no question that Randolph County needs more deputies and more road patrols to provide increased coverage throughout the county – including the more remote areas. We’ve seen a dramatic increase in crime over the past several years, so I feel their caseloads are pretty high right now.

In addition, I would like to implement a school resource officer program which would be funded through a grant. This plan would include two school resource officers assigned to two different schools. They would be full-time positions in their respective schools. In addition to these positions, I will assign a deputy to all other schools in the county where the deputy would be required to stop in their assigned schools two times per month. They will meet with and talk to the principals, teachers, and children in order to develop good working relationships and provide additional support our children can benefit from. No extra taxpayer money will be required for this program.

I know taxpayers in our local communities are feeling the sting of being asked to bear the burden of so much already, so I think the real concern is how we can accomplish increasing our deputy manpower in the most cost-effective manner.

I worked hard to develop an initial plan to provide immediate, temporary 24-hour countywide coverage without increasing manpower (or adding to taxpayer burden) through the use of creative scheduling and more effective use of the resources we already have. Personally, I have no intention of sitting behind a desk. I plan to take my work on the road. I will be working with my deputies “elbow to elbow.” I’ll be taking and answering calls as much as physically possible to help relieve the manpower shortage.

Eventually, I would like to provide permanent 24-hour protection to Randolph County citizens as money becomes available. I am exploring all available funding options right now and have already identified several promising resources. These do not involve asking for additional local tax revenue. Looking ahead, I would ultimately like to see a 20-deputy law enforcement division in the sheriff’s office.

Thank you for the opportunity to answer these questions. I am available to provide further clarification and I would be happy to answer any additional questions your readers may have, as well. Randolph County residents can learn more about my plan to Take Back Randolph County at my campaign website, follow and message me on Facebook, and call me directly with any questions or concerns related to my campaign. Remember, the 2020 Randolph County General Election is on Tuesday, Nov. 3. I would be honored to be your sheriff. I am asking for your vote. Let’s take back Randolph County!

JIM WEBLEY

I am Jeffrey “Jim” Webley and I am a Democratic candidate for Sheriff of Randolph County.

I would like to tell you a little about myself. I’ve lived in Randolph County all of my life, I was born and raised here. I have been married to my wife, Roxanne Shifflett Webley, for 44 years and we have two grown children; one son, Jared, and a daughter, Tara. We also have one granddaughter, Lily. I worked for the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department for 16 years, five of those years I acted as Chief Deputy Sheriff, I worked for the United States Marshall Service for six years, and I have been employed as an investigator for the past 23 years for the Kroger Company. While employed with the Sheriff’s department I had the opportunity to work under three different Sheriff’s in that time; Phil Ware, John Arbogast, and Willard Herron. I attended the West Virginia State Police Academy in Charleston and many law enforcement classes while with the Sheriff’s department. I attended the Federal Law enforcement training center in Glen County, Georgia, For the last 23 years I’ve had the opportunity to work with many law enforcement agencies across WV, Virginia, Ohio, and North Carolina. I’ve created working relationships with most of the surrounding counties law enforcement agencies, such as, Clarksburg PD, Morgantown PD, Charleston PD, Bridgeport PD, the West Virginia State Police, and I even had the opportunity to work a case with the Secret Service this month. I’ve worked with several law enforcement programs across our great state like the Organized Retail Crime and the Narcotics Task Force in Harrison County. Some may think I have been out of the loop of law enforcement for the past 23 years, but I have not. My job as an investigator gave me the opportunity to work with most of the police departments in our state and surrounding states.

Now as for why I want to run for Sheriff…I have lived here all my life and want to work with the citizens of our county to make the community safer for our children. I want to focus mainly on the drug epidemic. Most families in our community have been effected by the drug epidemic, including myself. I have watched drugs turn my loved one into someone I no longer know and I can no longer stand by and watch other families suffer the pain that I have. I want to be part of the solution. Our community is suffering on many levels because of the drug use; our businesses are shorthanded, our teachers are overwhelmed in the classroom, our police officers are put in danger daily, and our local DHHR and foster care systems are overwhelmed with children being neglected because of drug use. We have a lot of great officers and law enforcement agencies in our area and we have to work together with the community if we are going to make this a safer place for our children. We live in one of the most beautiful counties in our state and we need to make this an area people want to visit, an area where people want to raise their families.

As Sheriff I will also be the treasurer of the county. I will collect and maintain the taxes paid by our residents. I am an honest man, I am a fair man, and you can trust me to take an oath to uphold all laws and take my office very serious. I love our county and I want what is best for our county. I can’t promise to fix all the problems or issues, but I assure you I will work hard to do all I can to make our county safer and more productive. And I would appreciate your vote on Nov. 3

1.) What is the top goal you want to accomplish by being Sheriff?

The number one thing I want to achieve is working to put an end to the drug epidemic in our county. It has destroyed too many families and we have to take immediate action before it’s too late. I have watched the drug issue turn our loved ones into people we no longer know and I want to be able to say that I did my best to stop the problem. I’m sick of watching what is happening to our town and I’m ready to be part of the solution.

2.) What would you do as Sheriff to combat the county’s drug problems?

I will have an open door policy. I have to have the help of the community to fix this issue. This cannot be solved by one person. I want the community to be in constant contact with me about what they see in their neighborhoods. No one knows the area better than the people that live there. We all know the local “drug houses”, the ones in plain sight, so we need to crack down on those as well.

We can set up email communication if the citizens do not feel comfortable being seen talking to law enforcement. They can email me now at WebleyForSheriff2020@gmail.com and we need to promote our tip lines even more. I feel like every citizen in this town is sick of the drugs and we have to step up now. I want to work one on one as well with the “Knock and Talk” approach. I want to be out in the county knocking on doors and talking to people about what they feel needs done.

3.) Do you feel the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department needs more deputies?

It would be great to have more deputies, if our budget allows it. We need more deputies, but we need to look at budget numbers and see what can be done.

We don’t want to put hardworking citizens in a bind having to pay more taxes. That is something that would have to be discussed with the County Commission once I take office. We have to maintain an efficient budget, so I will look at the money available to the county, with the County Commission, and make sure we spending tax dollars appropriately

Phil Hudok

“I’m 70 years old. My wife, Lynn, and I have four daughters, all college graduates and high school valedictorians. While getting my teaching degree, at West Liberty, I served several years as the College Personnel Manager of ARA Food Service. While in college I started Century Photo that I still own and operate.

“Since 1976 I’ve taught science in the county at three different schools. While at Tygarts Valley, I was named Teacher of the Year. I was a national presenter for outstanding teaching practices in at the SREB Conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

“I have served as an officer in the Lions Club, Education Association, County Tax Study Association, and served on the County Planning Commission and frequently communicate with the Randolph County Commissioners. I won two cases in the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. The cases were taken by the West Virginia Education Association and the Rutherford Institute.

“As media producer for the Christian ministry, Call To Decision, I live-stream current events and prophesy studies from my home and I have produced eight weekend seminar videos featuring speakers from several countries.”

1) What is the top goal you want to accomplish by being the sheriff?

My top goal is to correct a serious problem in Randolph County. We are currently experiencing a constitutional crises that adversely affects us all. This crises involves a violation of the state constitution by Gov. Justice in response to COVID. The actions of Gov. Justice are unnecessary, unlawful, irrational, and ongoing. As Sheriff, it will be my duty to protect the people and institutions from unlawful mandates. This will begin immediately upon my taking office.

The unnecessary carnage is immense. The financial downturn alone will hamper future programs and seriously diminish services such as law enforcement. I agree wholeheartedly with the President when he says we cannot let fear control our lives. Nothing is more dangerous than politicized, pseudo science. It enabled Nazi Germany.

Even if it were lawful, as a teacher and researcher, I firmly believe we are allowing false science to dictate policy. My website includes the section “Investigating COVID-19” which is a series of programs with information that is being currently censored from main stream media. I pledge quick but thoughtful action to bring Randolph County law enforcement policies and actions into lawful compliance, thus promoting a healthy community. For a complete understanding, read both “1st Sheriff Duty” and “COVID Response Is Unconstitutional” by the Constitution Party of W.Va. on hudok.com.

2) What would you do as sheriff to combat the county’s drug problems?

I will institute an open and ongoing dialog with all government agencies that have responsibilities in dealing with the drug problem. When people contact the sheriff’s office they deserve a personal and timely response.

For obvious reasons, there should be two separate drug interdiction programs. One for users and quite different one for drug pushers. If we just do what we have always done, we will continue to lose ground as we always have. A very important resource in this battle, and it is a battle, should be the churches of the county. I will be in contact with the churches to formulate a plan to utilize and maximize a truly life changing experience in people who wrongly believe there is no hope. I believe churches will step up to the plate for this very important calling.

3) Do you feel the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department needs more deputies?

The current breakdown in morals and the drug problem didn’t happen overnight and cannot be solved overnight. With Randolph County’s immense 1,040 square miles of land area, it is clear that the sheriff’s department needs significant staffing.

I support more deputies for both the safety of the residents and the deputies as well. By design, the sheriff’s office is the hub of law enforcement. All individuals, organizations, businesses, and churches are encourage to back and vote for measures that support adequate sheriff’s department funding and staffing.

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