Sheriff issues a response to allegations

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 20, 2006

CrenshawCounty Sheriff Charles West, who is seeking his third term in office, had several things to say about the conduct of the sheriff's race over the past several weeks.

One of the first issues concerned a letter that was circulated by a committee claiming to support a candidate for sheriff who was unsuccessful in the primary elections.

&#8220I am sure that several of the citizens of Crenshaw County have received letters concerning me and my office during this campaign,” West said. &#8220I have never, nor will I ever, use such tactics.”

&#8220The first thing I want the citizens to know is that it isn't very often when someone comes in and gives me or one of my deputies a pat on the back for the job we do,” he continued. &#8220Many times, people storm into our office with their problems, tell us how innocent they are, and ask us to drop the charges, and they're usually not in the best of moods when they do it. Most people don't see the reality of what we work in and deal with on a day-to-day basis. That says a lot for my deputies and for my office staff.”

West added that allegations had been made about alcohol consumption in the sheriff's office.

&#8220All confiscated alcohol is tagged as evidence and stored at the jail until it is destroyed,” West said.

When it comes to the issue of his opponent, Ed Williams, West said that he wanted to make it perfectly clear that Williams, who is a Crenshaw County sheriff's deputy on leave of absence, was not fired whenever he announced his candidacy to run for sheriff.

&#8220Deputy Williams filed a ‘Leave of Absence' form, in accordance with the Personnel Handbook, with the county commission,” West said. &#8220That letter, in Mr. William's own handwriting, is available for public viewing at the courthouse.”

Ed Williams, who is West's opponent in the July 18 run-off, was asked to comment for this story but declined to do so.

&#8220I don't make the laws; I simply implement what the courts pass down,” West added. &#8220I treat everyone fairly and without prejudice, but if you break the law, I will put you in jail.”

&#8220I strongly encourage anyone with any questions for me to come by my office, and I will be glad to discuss it with them,” he added. &#8220My door is always open.”

West also said that, if re-elected, he wanted to continue his implementation of advancing the computer technology not only in the sheriff's office, but also in the jail, which includes a new video-monitoring system that allows inmates to be seen via video screen in the courtroom without having to transport them from the jail.