GALLIPOLIS — Lt. Matt Champlin of the Gallipolis Police Department will run under the Republican banner in the March 15 primary election in his bid for Gallia County sheriff.
Champlin, 37, of Gallipolis, is a graduate of Gallia Academy High School. He was born in Sodus, N.Y. He lived in Pennsylvania until his freshman year of high school before moving to Gallipolis.
He said he started his career in law enforcement immediately after graduating. He started his training at the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy and completed the program in April 1997. He received his first commission through the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office in 1997, where he was commissioned as a special deputy.
He started his first employment with the Rio Grande Police Department in 1998 as a part-time officer. He then was employed at the Gallia County Juvenile Court as a probation officer. He once held a position at the Gallia County 911 Center as a dispatcher and with the GPD as a dispatcher. He was appointed a full-time road officer with GPD on Sept. 30 1999.
Champlin is a trained meth lab technician and has been for the last two years. He wears HAZMAT suits and “goes in” to disassemble labs, test and neutralize sites of suspected meth production activity. He has been a trained police canine handler since March 2001. He is on his second dog now.
He received his first promotion to sergeant in 2005 and a promotion to lieutenant in 2010. He has firearms qualifications through state government training. He also serves as an instructor at Pine Grove Kennel in Reedsville and is part of a staff that is known for training police dogs that serve several police departments throughout the Appalachian region. He also serves as an evaluator for the state of Ohio in regards to canine units.
Champlin said he is also trained as a crisis intervention team officer, a program that teaches officers how to handle situations that involve individuals experiencing mental illness or developmental disabilities.
“I want to become sheriff because I believe I bring a lot to the table,” Champlin said. “I spent two years working as a plainclothes narcotics investigator. Another officer and I were assigned to investigate drug crimes. We filed numerous drug trafficking complaints and had very successful bids there while we were doing it. I’ve worked with several violent crimes involving burglary and theft. I have a vast knowledge of drug interdiction. Pretty much since I’ve been in law enforcement, my main focus has been working drug interdiction and stopping the drug trade that is coming into Gallipolis and Gallia County.”
Champlin said he has years of experience working with the Ohio State Highway Patrol as well as surrounding sheriff offices and believes he has a strong working relationship with police agencies across Ohio.
According to him, his experience with canine units has been instrumental in helping forge these bonds and networks.
Champlin said his main focus, if he were to be elected, would be property crimes and the drug crimes often associated with them. As an animal lover and handler, he is also an advocate against animal cruelty.
“My goal will be to focus the assets and resources of the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office to stop those crimes,” Champlin said. “What qualifies me to be a leader is that I’ve been a leader in the Gallipolis Police Department and Gallia County police community since 2005. I don’t believe that a title makes you a leader. I think the way you work and the way people respect you makes you a leader.”
Champlin said he believes in leading from the front and by example. He feels that it is important to hire and train the “right people and get out of the way to let them do their job.”
Champlin believes that despite being a leader, it is important to note that people work with leaders and not for leaders. Because of his experience working with fellow officers throughout the county, he feels he has support and trust to lead as a sheriff.
Champlin said he would like to see less administrative function if he were to become sheriff and more road staff, along with more investigators to keep up with an ever-increasing caseload — while trying to manage that within the limitations of a budget aimed to save the taxpayer money.
“I believe the public expects us to go out and serve them and solve the crimes that are committed against them,” Champlin said. “The only way to do that is to put the right people in the places to do that.”
Champlin said he believes in rehabilitating drug abusers, but not at the expense of protecting citizens who have not committed crimes.
“Drug-addicted persons have to want help and we should be able to put them in a position to do that,” Champlin said. “However, in saying that, I believe in ‘cutting off the head of the snake’ and what I mean by that is that we need to focus our resources and attack the drug traffickers and drug trade coming from within and outside of our county. One of my focuses is creating an environment that is uncomfortable for people who commit crimes to come into our community and try to set up shop.”
For more information, visit www.champlin4sheriff.com or Champlin’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts at electchamplin16.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.
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