By August Steigmeyer
For the first time in 20 years, Knox County will have a new Sheriff.
David Barber, who was elected in 1992, will be retiring at the end of his current term.
There is no Democrat running for the office, so the Republican candidate who wins the primary on March 6 will be unopposed in the general election.
Barber is supporting David Shaffer, who currently serves as captain, the second-in-command at the Sheriff’s Department.
Roger Brown, who served as detective sergeant in the Sheriff’s Office, is running against Shaffer.
Due to an eligibility requirement in the Ohio Revised Code, Brown was forced to resign from his post at the Sheriff’s office in order to run in the election, though he still serves as volunteer special deputy in Fredericktown.
The relationship between the Sheriff’s department and the Office of Campus Safety is important for Kenyon, according to Director of Campus Safety Bob Hooper.
He said he hopes the next Sheriff will “continue to improve the level of communication [and] the level of cooperation between [the Sheriff and Campus Safety to] continue with education and training that they provide for us [and] to continue that level of trust that we’ve had under Sheriff Barber, that we aren’t hiding things from law enforcement, that we have a mutual dependency on one another.”
Hooper had a difficult time deciding which candidate to support in the primary, but has officially endorsed Shaffer. “I have known both of them for a very long time, but I felt Dave Shaffer was going to be better for Kenyon, better for this office … because I think he has more polish dealing with media, more polish being in an administrative positions, being the Captain.”
Hooper said he has worked with Brown on Kenyon cases for many years and knows him well.
“I like Roger, and I think he can do the job, I just think Dave is a little more polished, he said.”
Shaffer has also made a concerted effort to stay connected with the Campus Safety Office, according to Hooper.
“He came to campus three times just to talk with us,” he said. “So he clearly understood that report that we’ve been able to build with Sheriff Barber and that that’s maintained. That meant a lot. We did not get that from Roger, which kind of surprised me a little bit. Roger didn’t even talk to us.”
Although he believes both men are confident officers, Hooper made his decision with Kenyon’s interests in mind.
“I wish them both the best. For me it was a very difficult choice,” he said. “In my mind I’m trying to support the one that will do the best for Kenyon.”