Youngblood: ‘I want to be a working sheriff’

Published 3:00 am Saturday, November 1, 2014

Jason Youngblood wants to be a working sheriff for Pike County.

From added patrols to increased efforts to combat drug crime throughout the county, Youngblood has outlined a platform that he said will put the sheriff’s department to work for the citizens of Pike County. “I’m somebody who wants to be a working sheriff,” he said. “I want to provide the citizens with adequate coverage and the work that is supposed to be done.”

Youngblood currently works for the National Guard as well as Troy Police Department. Youngblood says if elected he plans to retire from the National Guard in order to better serve Pike County as sheriff. He also said if elected he would drop his civil service-based complaint against the Troy Police Department. “The public interest has got to come before your personal interest and there’s no way I could rebuild decades of bad relationships between the city and county if I have any type of lawsuit against the city at the same time,” he said. “The public interest has got to come above personal interest.”

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Youngblood said he decided to run for sheriff because he believes the county can be better served. “Russell Thomas is a great man who has dedicated his entire life to public safety … but it’s his management style and his leadership style that are in question, not his popularity.”

Youngblood has questioned what he believes is a lack of emphasis on drug arrests in Pike County during the past two years, as well as concerns about a lack of 24-hour coverage and inefficient management of the jail.

He has advocated adding staff and changing shift schedules, building a new jail, and moving to a centralized dispatch center to allow jailers to focus on running the jail. He also said he would work to build relationships between the sheriff’s department and municipal law enforcement agencies, expanding to include joint training and shared information and resources. He has said if elected he would use deputies to conduct seasonally appropriate driving checks, to attempt to curb speeding on county roads and to help keep drunk drivers off the roads.

“We need to stop thinking personally and start thinking what’s better for the entire county,” Youngblood said. “It’s a slow process, but it’s not about me or the commission. It’s about every body in this county.”

All of those approaches are what he considers “getting back to work” serving the people of Pike County.

At 39, Youngblood said he has both the experience and the new approaches needed to be effective.

“I’ve heard people say I’m young, but Russell was 31 when he was first elected,” Youngblood said. “I am old enough, I have been doing this long enough to do the job and with all the things I’ve done so far in my career, I can bring a lot of different experiences to the table.”