Chief deputy ready to lead sheriff's department

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Clements believes he has the experience, knowledge to serve the county

By Stephen Lega

Jimmy Clements has been the chief deputy for the Marion County Sheriff's Department since 1996. Now, he's ready to move into the main office.

Clements is challenging incumbent Sheriff Carroll Kirkland in the May 18 primary election.

Clements wrote in response to a questionnaire from the Enterprise that he wanted to run for sheriff when he felt he had the experience to do so.

"I believe that time has come and I would like to put the knowledge I have gained to work by serving Marion County," he said.

Clements and his wife, Julie, live in Raywick. They have two children, and they are members of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church.

Clements is also a member of the St. Joe Community Center board of directors and previously served on the board of the chamber of commerce. He supports Marion County High School sports programs and he worked with the high school to promote gun safety and substance abuse awareness.

Clements is a 1981 graduate of Marion County High School. He attended Campbellsville University before graduating from the Department of Criminal Justice Training Academy at Eastern Kentucky University in 1997.

In addition to his 14 years as a deputy with the sheriff's department, Clements worked for 10 years in corrections at Marion Adjustment Center.

If elected, Clements wrote that he would strive to provide a full-service, highly trained department that promotes community involvement and is committed to providing "efficient, accountable, and professional service."

Training is crucial in many areas and it will be important in helping the sheriff's department address the challenges it will face in the future. One example of this is being able to communicate with the increasing Hispanic population in the community, Clements wrote.

Another issue that will come up soon is staffing for the new judicial center, which is scheduled to open later this year. Clements wrote that additional security officers will need to be hired, trained and scheduled.

"As sheriff I will make sure during the hiring process that the appropriate steps are taken to find the county a quality hire for those positions," Clements wrote.

He added that he would keep the current staff if elected, although he does see the need to make some changes when future staff members are hired.

"I do believe when it comes to the future hiring of staff the need to diversify the office and look for something more than what traditionally has been associated with [a deputy]," he said.

He also reiterated that more training would benefit the staff in areas in which they may be lacking.

Clements wrote that his biggest concern is illegal drug activity in the county. Drugs often lead to an increase in other crimes because users may commit other crimes in order to be able to purchase drugs.

"It has been my experience that this is of great concern to most and upsets them greatly especially when they are the victim," he wrote.

He added that the sheriff's department needs to be visible and communicate with members of the general public to address their concerns.

Clements concluded by writing that he is honest and fair and has the best interests of Marion County in mind.

"I come from a good, hard-working family that has deep roots in this county," he wrote. "I look forward to the opportunity to serve Marion County and promise to make you a Sheriff you can be proud of."