FLOYD COUNTY — Labeling it as the logical next step in his law enforcement and public service career, Steve Bush filed this week as a Republican candidate in the 2022 Floyd County Sheriff’s race.
Bush has held several positions during his nearly 30-year career with the New Albany Police Department. He also served 12 years as a member of the Floyd County Commissioners, being selected as president of the body for six years before deciding not to seek re-election in 2016.
Bush lost to current Sheriff Frank Loop by 295 votes in the 2014 GOP primary. Loop can’t seek re-election in 2022 after having served two consecutive terms.
Though they were once opponents, Bush said he has great respect for Loop and how he’s managed the sheriff’s department and the Floyd County Jail.
“He continues to do an excellent job leading the department, and, if elected, I will continue to build on that foundation of professionalism and excellent service to the community,” Bush said.
Bush has almost three decades of experience in law enforcement. Over his career with the NAPD, he’s received several promotions including being named commander of the detective division. While serving as a major, he established the department’s first FLEX unit. He’s now captain and oversees a patrol shift.
Though he hasn’t worked for the sheriff’s department, Bush said he’s had regular interaction with its employees. He also was a part of a metro SWAT team that included officers from the sheriff’s department.
“Both my role as a police officer and as a commissioner has allowed me to have almost daily interactions with members of the Floyd County Sheriff’s Department on every level,” he said. “I am continually impressed with their professionalism and dedication to our community.”
The sheriff has to manage a budget for the department and the jail, but the central role of the county’s top law enforcement officer is public safety. Bush said his approach would be service-oriented with a focus on relationship-building.
“If we’re going to battle and combat mental illness and addiction, which I think are the two biggest things we’re battling in the community, we’re going to have to be able to work with other agencies to be able to do that,” Bush said.
That will entail more than just partnerships with other law enforcement agencies, he continued. The sheriff’s department needs to maintain and build strong relationships with organizations that offer drug addiction services and other community initiatives, Bush said.
And if someone is arrested, Bush said the county has a moral obligation to try to help them get the services they need to overcome the problems that led to their incarceration.
There should be faith-based programs available to jail inmates and other rehabilitative services, Bush said.
The sheriff’s department doesn’t have dash or body cameras. Bush said he’s open to the idea but added that several factors including cost, storage and privacy rights must be considered when discussing the use of cameras by officers.
If elected, Bush said he will rely on a data-driven approach to fight crime.
“We want to look at where we’re at, where we’ve been and where we’re going,” he said.
The department must also use a blend of proactive and reactive policing to serve the community, Bush added. That could include enhanced relationships with neighborhood associations and a more visible police presence in the community.
“We want the public to be involved with us and work with us and partner with us,” he said.
Bush listed his involvement in numerous community and church activities and groups. He’s also an avid runner and he highlights that passion in a social media video announcing his candidacy for sheriff.
“My devotion to God and family is what inspires me to serve,” Bush said. “I am blessed to have the support of my wife, Danna, and our two adult children, Christian and Ashley.”
As for being the first to declare for the 2022 race, Bush said he has traditionally announced his candidacy in other contests about 18 months before the primary.
One of the reasons for doing so is to lay a strong foundation and to organize for what can be a difficult process, he said.
“Campaigning is not easy. You have to ask for support. You have to ask for money. You have to get organized,” Bush said. “I may win, I may lose, you never know, but we will not be outworked.”