By GARY POPP
NEW ALBANY —
While primary elections won’t be held until May 2014, candidates in the Floyd County sheriff’s race are already making their bids known.
Floyd County Sheriff’s Department Maj. Jeff Topping announced his bid late last week.
In January, Steve Bush of the New Albany Police Department and Frank Loop of the Floyd County Sheriff’s Department each went public with their intent to run for the position.
Incumbent Sheriff Darrell Mills is prohibited under state statue from running in 2014, as he is currently in his second term.
Topping has served with the FCSD since 1988 and said he is ready to take on the leadership role.
“I have made a career with the Floyd County Sheriff’s Department. I have dedicated most of my life to the department and the citizens of Floyd County,” Topping said. “I have put in 25 years with the department and currently work on a daily basis with Sheriff Darrell Mills and Chief Ted Heavrin in the operations of the department, and I feel I’m ready to take over.”
Topping was born, raised and has spent his entire life in Floyd County.
During his long career with the FCSD, he rose from the ranks of officer, K-9 officer, lieutenant, captain and now serves as one of the agency’s two majors.
Topping has also served as a detective, chief of detectives, and was selected by Mills to be the department’s public information officer, a position he holds today.
Topping said has received certification as an EMT and crime scene investigator, and he is a special deputy marshal with the U.S. Marshals Service.
Having served under four sheriffs, Topping said he has seen the department make significant advances, but said most of those have come under the direction of Mills.
“There have been so many accomplishments that Sheriff Mills has made during his term, it is going to be challenge for the new sheriff just to keep things in place that he has already established,” Topping said.
He said the varied advancements include technological updates in patrol cars that give officers Internet resources and the option to print documents on the go.
Topping said the community stands to benefit from electing someone from within the FCSD, like himself.
“There has been several sheriffs that did not come from inside the department, and the department didn’t advance nearly as it did once Sheriff Mills, who had 18 years on, was elected, and he went beyond advancements,” he said.
Topping said that by working closely with the department’s brass, he has gained insights into the agency’s budget and other matters that will allow him to continue what he considers a high standard of policing.
“I see how it is run, and I’ve been shown different aspects that would give me an advantage over some of the other candidates,” Topping said. “I feel like we [the FCSD] are on a high level, and I want to maintain that high level.”
He said he would strive to serve the people who want the next administration to continue the work conducted under Mills’ watch.
Topping said that he has seen Mills make strides that reached farther than any other sheriff he’s worked under.
“I would want to lead the FCSD in a positive direction and maintain the professionalism that has been gained and earned here,” Topping said. “We have a lot of good officers trained in specialized areas that help the community.”
Topping said is in tune with the expectations of the pubic and is willing and able to meet those expectations.
“The people of the community are going to elect the sheriff, and they are wanting somebody that is going to maintain the professionalism and the leadership abilities to run this department,” he said.
Topping said through his police work he has diligently worked to protect the people of Floyd County, and hopes to have the opportunity to do even more for the community as Floyd County’s next sheriff.
“I solved hundreds of crimes in and around the Floyd County area, helping the citizens, trying to give back to them, and now I hope they give back to me,” Topping said.