Veteran candidates make their case for Henderson County Sheriff

Veteran candidates make their case for Henderson County Sheriff
Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 8:16 PM CDT
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HENDERSON, Ky. (WFIE) - For the first time in 16 years, Ed Brady’s name won’t be listed on the Henderson County ballot.

The longtime sheriff retired in June of 2021, leading to his then Chief Deputy and current Sheriff David Crafton taking over.

Crafton, a Democrat, now seeks re-election, though he’s never actually been elected.

He faces a Republican challenger in Chip Stauffer, a former Henderson Police Chief who retired in 2017.

“I spent 23-and-a-half years with the Henderson City Police Department. I retired as the Henderson Police Chief,” Stauffer said.

Stauffer also boasts an impressive list of degrees, securing a bachelor’s in criminal justice from Kentucky Wesleyan College and a master’s in public administration from Western Kentucky University.

He also graduated from the FBI National Academy.

Despite his 2017 retirement, Stauffer says he recently felt his time in law enforcement wasn’t done.

Crafton also brings experience to the ballot. He’s worked in law enforcement for more than 40 years.

“I started in 1980 and I worked with the Henderson City Police. From that, I went into the Kentucky State Police and I spent almost 27 years there. Now I’ve had the experience of working here [sheriff’s office] for 13 years. I know the ins and outs of how the sheriff’s office works,” Crafton said.

During his time as Sheriff, his office and HPD ended their relationship with the Pennyrile Narcotics Task Force, and opted to do their own drug investigations.

At the beginning of September, Henderson hired a full-time drug investigator.

“The Pennyrile Narcotics Task Force did a good job for us, but they were only here part-time. They can’t be here full-time. This affords us the opportunity to have a full-time investigator that’s working with HPD all the time.”

Like Crafton, Stauffer knows drugs are still a problem in the county, but says the issues go beyond that.

He has ideas of strengthening the county’s relationships to get ahead of those problems.

“It’s not only drugs, but it’s also guns. And those federal law enforcement agencies can greatly assist you in those investigations, but you have to have relationships in order to ask for help,” Stauffer said.

While Stauffer has his eyes set on working with federal agencies, Crafton is creating bonds locally.

“Over the years, we’ve worked with Henderson police department in a number of areas. Our patrol officers work really well together,” Crafton said.

Both candidates agree that relationships with HPD are necessary for the sheriff’s office.

Stauffer wants to take it a step further and increase communication.

“I think that transparency, which is a buzzword right now in law enforcement, is big. That’s another aspect of the sheriff’s office I’d like to improve on,” Stauffer said.

Experience isn’t the question with these two candidates, it’s a matter of how constituents want their county’s sheriff’s office to operate, and who they’d rather have at the helm.

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