Note: All candidates and voters are invited to attend a candidates' political forum at 6 p.m., April 26, at the 4-H Fairgrounds.
Sponsored by The Brazil Times, Clay County Farm Bureau and Clay County Chamber of Commerce, the public forum will give voters the opportunity to question candidates for school board and the candidates in the Democratic Party sheriff's primary.
All other candidates will have two minutes to speak to the audience.
There is no charge for admission.
- Mike Heaton running for Clay Co. Sheriff
I, Michael W. Heaton, formally announce my filing as the Republican candidate for Sheriff of Clay County. It has been an honor and privilege to serve as your current Sheriff and I would like the opportunity to continue to serve the citizens of Clay County. I began my law enforcement career by graduating from Vincennes University in 1992 with an Associate of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. I continued my education by attending Indiana State University majoring in criminology. While at ISU I was hired as an Indiana State University Police Officer. I graduated the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in 1994 and have continued training and education during my career.
I was hired as a Clay County Deputy in 1995 and have moved through the ranks over the years, becoming a training instructor for the department in 1997, instructing deputies and other officers supervising their training. In 2000 I became a Field Training Officer for new deputies and in 2003 was promoted to Detective Sergeant.
As Detective Sergeant I have worked on several cases from burglaries and thefts to homicides. I was the lead detective from Clay County on the Tannette Dickison homicide. I was a member of a multi-agency task force of detectives, working on the case that lead to the arrest of a subject who was charged with Tannette's murder and two others. Additionally, the investigation helped solve two unsolved crimes, one in California and the other in Nevada.
I was selected in March of 2005, by a Republican caucus, to fulfill the remaining term of former Sheriff Carter. At that time the new jail project was under way, with the outside of the structure beginning to take shape. I jumped in and had the National Institute of Corrections come to Clay County and train myself and the jail staff on how to open and operate a new jail. On Feb. 28 of 2006 we moved the inmates to the new jail, which is state-of-the-art.
I have always been active in the community. I was a member of the Clay County Park and Recreation Board, a current board member on Posey Township Fire Board and the Clay County Community Correction Board. I am a S.A.L. member of the American Legion Post 2, member of the Fraternal Order of Police, Indiana Sheriff's Association and the National Sheriff's Association.
I have played an active role in the Red Ribbon Day for several years in Clay County. This is where the fifth graders from all Clay County Elementary Schools gather for one day to learn about the dangers of drugs and alcoholism and how to make better choices. I have participated in several activities for our school children, including boy and girl scout troops. I teamed up with the National Child Safety Council, which provides information for parents and kids on the different dangers that our children face these days. Through the Indiana Sheriff's Association and the Child Safety Council, I am able to provide these booklets and child identification kits which are free to the community.
As Sheriff, I have taken an active stand against drugs and will continue to do so. I have sent deputies to several different training classes on how to investigate the many areas of fighting drugs. The ongoing methamphetamine problem that our society faces is one of great importance to me. With the continued support and help from the community, we will fight the problem head on, by educating our children and arresting the drug dealers that bring it here and put it in the hands of our children. The majority of the crime in our community is a result of the drugs that plague our society. As Sheriff I have begun new classes in the new jail to help the inmates make better choices and show that there is a better way of life. This is being done by volunteers who care for our community and are willing to help people. With their continued support, we hope to turn an inmate's life around by making better choices to be a productive member of society.
The new jail has been a challenge as far as budgeting goes. With no figures to base the cost of operations on, I will continue to monitor the budget of the jail and department and cut areas where money is not needed. I will continue to work with Federal, State and other agencies to hold their inmates to help offset the cost to Clay County taxpayers.
I plan to continue to provide as much community patrolling as possible with the deputies and reserve deputies that we have.
I thank you for your time and continued support.