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Endorsement: Fred Clark for Halifax County Sheriff

In 2011, Fred Clark won his first term as Halifax County Sheriff easily as the incumbent completely melted down into a scandal that ended up sending him to jail. That’s not the case in this election, as incumbent Clark is showing very few weaknesses.

Fred Clark is facing two challengers, each with law enforcement experience. Thomas Logan retired after 30 years of police work and immediately put his name on the ballot. Chris Hudson was a deputy under Clark’s administration but was sent packing after he declared his candidacy. I never have liked that unofficial rule, but I understand why it’s in place.

All of the candidates are qualified for the office of sheriff based on their experience. Clark has his current term as well as previous police experience in his career. Logan has vast police experience both on the road and in administration. Hudson has the field experience. I am impressed with Hudson’s desire to acquire a skill set that has proven to be an asset (his arson training).

I have no problem thinking that Thomas Logan would make an excellent Halifax County Sheriff if elected. If Thomas Logan had been running by himself against Clark, this race would have been a lot closer. Logan’s got the experience in administration and he’s got the respect from both current office employees and county residents. Chris Hudson would have to learn the administrative parts of being a sheriff, but he would have enough existing resources in the department to make that happen.

Fred Clark’s been attacked on two fronts in this election. The first one has came from a good friend of mine, Jason Bowen got the horrible ramrod job of a legal system that can be massively unfair at times. He was falsely accused of crimes, and the system just was stacked against him. Bowen is a damned good guy and I can totally understand his rage. He blames Clark and his administration for not helping with the situation, but I can’t agree with that very much. The Sheriff’s office is there to investigate and find the facts. Bowen’s mistreatment came mainly from the court system and its procedures, and that’s a problem that needs to be seriously addressed by the legislature.

The other attack has came from John Tanner, an ex-deputy from Clark’s administration. Tanner filed a defamation lawsuit against Clark and two of his ranking administrators claiming that they spoke negatively about him in references. Tanner filed this lawsuit in the spring of 2015 in Richmond and nobody really even noticed it. Somebody anonymously notified media about the lawsuit about two weeks in a very clear “October Surprise” tactic. Tanner is referring all media to his attorney and Clark has said “We feel there is nothing to this lawsuit and no one is hiding anything from the people of Halifax County.” I strongly agree with Clark on this matter. Even if the allegations were true (and I don’t believe them to be), they would not be relevant in this election. In a law enforcement just that has strong political overtones, any county sheriff is going to make some enemies. I find the anonymous way that somebody tried to sneak this lawsuit in on the last weeks of the campaign to be cowardly and reprehensible. That’s why I’m not considering it at all in my endorsement.

Clark’s department could do a lot better with media relations. Putting updates out on the department’s Facebook page just isn’t enough. Whoever is elected sheriff needs to revert back to the old days of Steve Cassada sending out emails every few days letting the media know what’s been going on. Dammit, I miss Steve and his folksy tone when he did that.

Chris Hudson is acceptable for the sheriff’s job, but he’s outgunned by Clark’s & Logan’s administrative experience. Thomas Logan would do a great job as sheriff and because of that, I can’t tell any of his supporters to not vote for him. Fred Clark has spent the last four years keeping Halifax County safe with his team of deputies. Clark is publicly approachable and he’s been highly visible in the county. He’s implemented a good community outreach program and he’s very supportive of fundraisers and causes. Four more years of Fred Clark would be a good thing for Halifax County.

SouthsideCentral gives Fred Clark our strong endorsement and we urge Halifax County voters to re-elect him to another term as sheriff.


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