By Phillip Williams
Upshur County Sheriff Larry Webb kicked off his campaign for re-election to a third term with a recent dinner at which he cited his record during his six years in office.
Speaking Sept. 9 to a crowd estimated at 170 at the Flyin’ Feathers Ranch outside Gilmer, Webb noted campaign literature on the attendees’ tables which re-printed his 2016 campaign goals for the sheriff’s office, and which said they had all been fulfilled.
“I don’t make promises. I just tell you what I’m gonna do,” said Webb, a Republican and one of three candidates in the coming 2024 elections for sheriff. The others are former Gilmer Police Chief Mark Case and former sheriff’s reserve Deputy Brandon Williams.
Webb said the county’s crime rate, including in incorporated cities, had fallen 18.4% between 2021 and 2022, and that a 12% further drop is expected this year.
The sheriff also discussed how one of his goals had been improving “emergency response to school districts.” After the Uvalde school shooting (which occurred after he took office), he said he met with all Upshur County school superintendents and “(we’ve) done the best we can to prepare for” such a situation.
When he became sheriff in 2017, he noted, the county had two school districts with a collective total of five on-campus school resource officers. There are now nine such officers in the county and “we’re doing a great job,” Webb asserted.
The sheriff also said “the most glaring thing” when he took office was lack of training, and that his goal was improving it for both jailers and deputies. He noted that the approximately $30,000 Stanley Jenkins Training Center had been built at no cost to taxpayers, and that his office has also had a firing range built.
In addition, he said, the number of deputies on patrol has gone from one to three or four at a time.
Among his other accomplishments, said Webb, are putting computers in officers’ cars, educational citizens’ police academies, a new radio system that was not funded with local taxes, and passing all jail inspections by the state jail commission.
In addition, he pledged, “You’ll never hear me tell you there’s not something we can do.” He said a citizen might be concerned with a civil matter or “just need to talk to somebody about your religion.”