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"Law enforcement is in my blood and I love my job. I feel like we have made a difference." These are the reasons Saline County Sheriff Bruce Pennington gave Monday for seeking re-election to a third term. "I have 40 years' experience and you have to have that kind of experience to get the job done right," Pennington said. "It's the only way you can."
Pennington is seeking the Republican Party's nomination for the office. He said he has accomplished many goals since he first took office in 2009, but said it hasn't always been smooth sailing. The Saline County jail has received its share of attention related to accusations and lawsuits from former inmates, but Pennington noted that "every jail has the same problem. It's common at any jail there is." Pennington lists several accomplishments since 2009 which include: • Obtaining grants for victim advocates for domestic violence cases • Establishing an Explorer Post for the youth of Saline County • Obtaining vehicles, establishing a website for the sheriff's office and converting a trailer given by the fire department into a mobile command post without additional cost to the county taxpayers • Providing G.E.D classes for inmates • Turning back money to the county general fund from the jail in 2009 ($447,194.00), 2010 ($517,496.00) and 2011 ($639,971.48) • Purchasing a new jail van • Obtaining a $96,000 grant for purchase of cameras for the patrol division.
Pennington was named "Sheriff of the Year" in 2010. He says that since taking office he has not had to ask for additional funding for the department and has stayed within budget. Direct law enforcement experience is what Pennington says is required a sheriff. "It all boils down to experience," he said. "Ninety-seven percent of all the telephone calls I return have to do with law enforcement, not administrative issues. A sheriff needs that law enforcement background in order to understand what people need from you." Pennington added, "I don't know all the answers, but I sure know where to get them." James Ward of Alexander previously announced his candidacy for the Republican Party's nominee for sheriff. Candidates for elected office in Saline County will file in March with the preferential primary elections to follow in May.