Sheriff’s candidate Brian Kiever says local law enforcement trying to thwart his campaign

Brian Kiever says local law enforcement — including the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office — are fabricating allegations against his son to thwart his bid to unseat current Rowan Sheriff Kevin Auten.

The two Republicans will face off in the May 6 primary. The winner will face Democrat Jacob “Jack” Eller in November.

Kiever, 50, is running for sheriff amid a multi-agency investigation into allegations that his 18-year-old son, Peter, posted nude pictures of young girls on social media sites.

Peter Kiever faces felony charges, including first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, and remains in the Rowan County jail under a $500,000 secured bond.

Kiever is adamant his son is innocent of the crimes.

“The timing — it just seems like it’s been all put into place for a certain time period,” Kiever said.

Kiever claims the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office and other police agencies involved in the investigation “refused assistance from state officials including the SBI (State Bureau of Investigation) and the state department in this case.”

The charges against Peter Kiever were secured by investigators with the Granite Quarry-Faith Joint Police Authority, Landis and Rockwell police departments, who say they sought guidance from the SBI.

“It’s as if they didn’t want the SBI to look into it,” Kiever said.

Auten said his office was asked to assist in the Kiever case, but Auten referred the local departments to SBI investigators, citing potential conflicts of interest. He went on to say the Sheriff’s Office was not involved in the case against Peter Kiever.

Auten refutes Brian Kiever’s claim that his son was arrested to derail his campaign.

“It’s propaganda. It’s part of his smear campaign he’s trying to run and what he’s playing into,” Auten said.

‘Good relations’

Kiever lists federal air marshal among his experience and has worked as an officer with the China Grove Police Department. Kiever has also been a Rowan County Sheriff’s deputy, working in the detention center.

Kiever said he values fostering good working relations amongst law enforcement agencies in the county.

He said it’s “very important that we have good relations within the county and federal agencies because of services and benefits we could obtain from them that would be of very little cost to the citizens of Rowan County.”

Kiever said if elected, he plans to completely restructure the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office — “financially, operationally and administratively.”

“It’s time for a new direction in the Sheriff’s Office. Too much time and money has been wasted defending poor choices, operations, finances, policies and appointments,” he said.

Kiever said if he’s elected, he plans to tackle the budget by “cutting back on wasteful spending on items not needed while increasing services and protection on things that are needed.”

Working well

Auten, 53, became interim sheriff in 2010 after former Sheriff George Wilhelm retired in November 2009. He was then elected to the office, defeating longtime friend and veteran law enforcement officer John Noble.

Auten said four years ago during his first campaign that part of his platform was building on the working relationships among law enforcement agencies. He came into office at a time when some local heads of departments were retiring, including those with the Salisbury and Kannapolis police departments and county district attorney’s office.

Auten said he believes his agency has worked well with surrounding agencies, smaller and larger ones.

“We understand something we can provide them they don’t have, and with bigger agencies, when we realize we don’t have everything, we can call them,” he said.

Auten said he’d handle budgeting demands as his agency has done in the past four years.

“We understand funds aren’t easy to come by. This command staff is used to dealing with a tight budget,” he said.

He said the sheriff’s office does the best it can. He said if it’s necessary to make equipment purchases, officials do so, but if not buying something won’t be detrimental, they make do without it.

“There are some things we could do if we had more money, but we understand the financial status of the county as well as the state,” Auten said.

Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.

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