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May 4, 2014

3 Dems battle to advance in Clark County sheriff’s race

Winner will move on to face GOP’s Noel, independent Spainhour

CLARK COUNTY — Five candidates, each with lengthy histories in law enforcement, are vying to fill the vacancy that will be left by Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden, who is ineligible to seek another term after serving two consecutive four-year terms.

Clark County Republican Party Chairman and Indiana State Police 1st Sgt. Jamey Noel is running unopposed in the Republican primary election. Retired Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Mac Spainhour is running as an Independent, and will not be listed on a ballot until the general election in November.

The only contested primary race is on the Democrat ticket between candidates Donald “Donnie” Bower Jr., Dwight Ingle and Brian Meyer.

Polls are open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, may 6.



Clark County Sheriff Maj. Donnie Bowyer, 52, Charlestown, started his service with the department nearly three decades ago as a reserve officer.

Bowyer later worked as a corrections officer at the Clark County jail before being hired as an officer. Years later, he was promoted to the detectives division, where he continues his career as chief of detectives.

Bowyer said law enforcement is the only career path he has ever wanted.

“My heart is in the community. My heart is in the department. I have been here since 1987,” he said, adding that he has a go-to joke, which goes: “Some people join the reserve force to find out if they like police work ... well, I’m still here. So, I did.”

Bowyer said he is prepared to use available resources to give optimal services to county residents.

“I just want to see us get out there and be the best agency we can be,” he said.

He said the job of sheriff will meet any elected candidate with distinct challenges.

“The jail is going to be challenge no matter who you are when you come in here,” he said. “That is the biggest expense. Manpower is going to be challenge. The budget is going to be challenge.”

Bowyer said, if elected, he thinks that he can restructure the agency to provide the best possible service.

“I don’t want to go into specifics, but we just have some positions that we can probably move around a little bit where we would have that extra manpower,” Bowyer said.

Having worked in the jail as a patrol officer and as a detective with administrative duties, Bowyer said he is primed to effectively manage the agency.

“Going through those different factions of the sheriff’s office and seeing how different variations of the department runs, I think that well equips a person to know a little bit about the job of sheriff,” he said.

Bowyer said to provide the community with the best services possible, he would instate an open-door policy.

“You can sit behind the desk as the sheriff, but without talking to your employees who are out on the front line — actually working in the jail and working out on the street, you really don’t get the truth of what is going on,” he said.

Bowyer said community members often have much better access to what is going on in their neighborhoods, and he wants to have a have continuous discourse with county residents. An active interaction also helps community members better understand what the agency’s capabilities are and are not, he said.

Bowyer said one thing that is within the department’s capacity is to take a more aggressive stance toward crime.

“I want to be a more proactive sheriff’s office,” Bowyer said. “The crimes that take place out in the community, the [offenders] do it day to day. They get caught. They go to jail. They get told how to do it better or how to not get caught. We have to do the same thing. We have get the training. We have to be proactive, not reactive.”

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