By Phillip Williams
Mark Case, seeking the Republican nomination for Upshur County sheriff, told a campaign barbecue audience in Gladewater on Saturday afternoon he wants sheriff’s deputies to have “more one-on-one” contact with citizens as “I don’t think that (type of) officer is getting involved in the community the way they should be.”
Case said people tell him “‘We don’t know who the deputies are,’ or ‘We don’t see the deputies.'” The candidate, who was Gilmer police chief from 2014 till retiring in 2022 after about 26 years with the police department, said “working with the community” is “the biggest thing.”
Case is challenging incumbent Larry Webb, seeking re-election to a third term in the March 5 GOP primary. Former reserve sheriff’s deputy Brandon Williams has notified the county election office he will also run for sheriff, but hadn’t filed as of Monday afternoon for a specific party primary.
Case said that if elected, he wanted to re-establish the county’s narcotics task force to which he once belonged. He also said all law enforcement agencies in the county must “work together,” and that he wanted to meet with all the city police chiefs in the county to have agencies jointly train.
“That keeps everyone on the same sheet of music,” Case told about 20 attendees during his campaign kickoff at Hidden Antler Farm.
The former Gladewater police officer also discussed his record in law enforcement, saying he participated in going after pseudoephedrine buyers in 2009, enabling law enforcement to tie them to methamphetamine cooks and put the cooks out of business. (Pseudoephedrine is an ingredient in making methamphetamine.)
While Gilmer police chief, Case added, his department held a women’s handgun safety class, sponsored fishing for children, and remodeled a onetime church for use as the police station.
He pledged that if elected, he would continue his past “strong relationship” with the district attorney’s office, and said the sheriff’s office also needs relationships with certain other law enforcement agencies because “they have resources.”
Saying he had been asked “why am I running now,” Case said “I still have a passion and a love for Upshur County” and cited “stuff that just needs to be improved on.” He added, “I always wanted to be involved in the community as much as I possibly can” and show youth “we’re (law officers) not the bad guy” portrayed in newspapers.
Cynthia Clark opened the program at Saturday’s event, saying in the invocation Case is “the change we need.”