My Turn, Tony Jones: Get to know sheriff candidates

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 10, 2022

By Tony Jones

I’m wondering why people are only talking about these candidates for Rowan County sheriff. There’s still other options. With these resumes, maybe we should feel lucky to have options.

So, alphabetically, here are the candidates:

Travis Allen

It would be redundant, but OK here’s a candidate that has spent the last better part of a decade making decisions on the Rowan-Salisbury Schools Board of Education only to turn around and say, “That’s not what I meant.” He says he came in second to Sheriff Kevin Auten and has the most experience at the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office. Well, with all that experience, he sure hasn’t excelled that far, and he absolutely sold Assistant Superintendent Kelly Withers out when he thinks that his 20-plus years of service count and not hers.

Mike Caskey

Again, more political experience than actual law enforcement experience. Along with Allen, both want you to think their board positions show leadership. Hello? Leaders are the sole decision-maker and accept sole ownership of those decisions, unlike boards. Not to mention, that issue with his buddy Commissioner Craig Pierce just shouldn’t sit well with those who support law enforcement. Integrity above loyalty! And let’s not forget the inflexibility that cost Rowan County almost $300,000 for not willing to be inclusive of all religions.

Tommie Cato

Here’s an enigma. Although no formal leadership titles, Cato has shown commitment to his community. He has more years in law enforcement and is still currently serving, even though he retired from the state. Watching his videos, you will see someone who talks more about others than himself. So, he works hard in his assignments, in his community and believes in serving others.

Jack Eller

Here’s a guy that has zero experience in law enforcement. He’s in his 60s and has run a trucking business all his life. Ladies and gentlemen, we already have incompetency covered at higher levels of government. We don’t need it at the highest level of law enforcement in the county. His political aspirations have expanded across both political parties, including numerous losses.

Greg Hannold

Looks great on paper, but he shows a character flaw when you watch his earlier videos. Comments about being born on the right side of the tracks could have been mistaken as a slur from one side of Spencer to the other. Questionable leadership of the jail, personnel shortages, assaults on employees and escapes makes his leadership questionable. His social media presence has attacked both the Allen and Cato campaigns. Focus on your campaign, not so much on trying to talk down the others. One thing I hear most is, “Good guy, just not very personable.”

Brad Potts

An amicable guy who retired as a state trooper and now drives for a local wrecker service. He’s a reserve officer in Cleveland, but not much of a presence. He comes from a family background with ties to the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office but hasn’t been a factor in law enforcement for the better part of half a decade. No doubt that his mother, uncle and he served their state and county well, but the office of sheriff is not an inheritance.

So maybe we should take the time to get to know Carlton Killian and Simon Brown.

Tony Jones lives in Salisbury.