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Burgoyne, Butler Square Off for Sheriff

October 21, 2012
The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

In 2008, outgoing Ohio County Sheriff Thomas Burgoyne bucked his party and endorsed his Republican chief deputy, Pat Butler, who went on to defeat his Democrat opponent to become the current county sheriff.

Now, Burgoyne is challenging Butler to regain the post.

- Butler has spent 37 years in local law enforcement. He said what sets him apart in the race is "I have no special interest groups that I cater to, no political agendas, and I have no aspirations of using the position of sheriff to obtain another job."

"I have removed all unethical conduct that existed in the past administration ..." he said. "I stopped the use of county resources and work hours doing projects for outside interests. I am a working sheriff as I still write citations and actively enforce out-of-state plate violators."

Butler also noted he requires his deputies, and himself, to be physically fit. "I am an active participant in this policy as well. You cannot make the rules if you cannot live up to them."

Butler said he understands the county's law enforcement needs because he has held nearly every law enforcement post.

"During my 23 years at the Wheeling Police Department, I walked the beat, worked steady night shift in one of the busiest cars, worked the Drug Task Force for over eight years, and retired as a detective sergeant. Essentially, I have investigated everything from petty crimes, robbery, drug related incidents to homicides. I have personally written letters to delinquent taxpayers to catch up on their payments and increase the monies collected to allow for the betterment of the school systems and infrastructure in Ohio County. Our collection percentage for taxes in 2011 was 97 percent."

He said the sheriff's tax office has received new equipment and also applied for a grant "to implement the ability to pay taxes online."

- Burgoyne served as sheriff from 2000-08. Prior to that, he served 33 years as an FBI agent, 27 of those dedicated to law enforcement in the greater Ohio County area.

"My tenure as deputy director of the Office of Law Enforcement Technology Commercialization with the National Institute of Justice after my FBI career also enhanced my knowledge of law enforcement priorities throughout the nation," he said.

"My prior term of eight years as the sheriff of Ohio County speaks for itself. Eight years, which included in part, the establishment of the Special Response Team (SWAT); Evidence Response Team; installation of a county building security system; enhanced in-car computers and cameras; increase in physical fitness standards for employees; and increased salary incentives for law enforcement and tax collection deputies.

"In addition, there was the conviction of numerous felons for multiple murders, three of whom are serving life sentences. In a word, experience in the knowledge of law enforcement and knowing how to deal in a fair but firm manner with personnel involved in the law enforcement and tax collection arenas."

Burgoyne said his experience and leadership also will lead to better morale among the sheriff's deputies.

"I believe that I am someone that the citizens of Ohio County and the employees of the Sheriff's Office consider to be a true leader as evidenced by my first two terms," he said. "I believe that I have the ability to create a workplace environment that will continue to instill the importance and sense of personal accomplishment that is needed to create a highly motivated work force."

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