GALLIPOLIS — Gallia County Prosecutor Jeff Adkins is seeking another term in office and will be running under the Democrat banner in the upcoming March 15 primary election.
Adkins, 55, of Gallipolis, will potentially be competing against another Gallipolis-based attorney and Republican Jason Holdren for the seat of Gallia County Prosecutor.
Adkins was born in Charleston, W.Va., and moved to Gallipolis in 1970. His father worked with Holzer Medical Center as an executive officer. Adkins graduated from Gallia Academy High School. He spent two years going to school at Rio Grande before finishing his undergraduate and law degrees at Ohio Northern University in Ada. He finished his law degree in 1985. After taking his bar examination, he began working under former Gallia County Prosecutor Joe Cain. Adkins also worked previously under Brent Saunders.
Adkins is also the father of two girls shared with his wife Andrea, a registered nurse.
“I’ve been in here (the courthouse) just past 30 years,” Adkins said.
Adkins has had experience serving as an assistant prosecutor and a part-time assistant city solicitor in the past. He also maintained his own private practice before being elected as Gallia County Prosecutor in 2004. He was again elected to the office in 2008 and 2012.
“We want to be here for the 2 a.m. phone call from police requesting a search warrant of a car traveling from Detroit through Gallia County,” Adkins said. “We want to be here for the fourth-grade boy who reported to his teacher that he and his little sister haven’t had food at their house for weeks. We want to be here for the store clerk who has worked a 10-hour shift and comes home to find her back door kicked in.”
According to Adkins, his office may see at least 200 to 300 cases each year — and those are are just the felony cases. He serves in juvenile court cases as well. Adkins also serves as the county’s legal advisor to entities such as county commissioners and boards of trustees. He has spent large amounts of time dealing with the Gallia-Meigs Major Crimes Task Force and prosecuted drug offenders and traffickers, as well as using civil forfeitures for new law enforcement equipment. Some of these cases have seen upwards of $100,000 in criminally acquired funds.
Adkins’ office donated $5,000 to the Vinton Field of Hope outreach program, which aims to use faith-based techniques to assist former drug users seeking rehabilitation. Adkins said he is an advocate of treatment in an attempt to get more drug users off the streets and lower the demand for drugs and trafficking in the county. The current prosecutor has said his office has made use of a technique called “intervention in lieu of conviction” in hopes of getting users assistance to come off addiction.
“If you’re selling, though, we’re coming after you,” Adkins said.
He said his office has made it a priority to utilize the law enforcement trust fund made up of money seized from drug traffickers. The money has been used to purchase new equipment for the Rio Grande Police Department, Gallipolis Police Department and the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office. Adkins emphasized the necessity of using these funds to save the taxpayer dollars.
“I became a prosecutor to help people,”he said. “People think that a prosecutor’s job is to just go after anybody. The thing is, (my) job is to see that justice is served.”
“I have never considered my job as prosecutor as a political one, but rather one that sits at the highest peak of public service,” Adkins said. “For that reason, I have an office staff compromised of both Democrats and Republicans. The question for me has never been one of party affiliation, but one of ethics standards and competence. The people who have entrusted me to hold this office deserve nothing less.”
Adkins said that some of the most rewarding parts of his job is when they can make someone happy. When he believes his office has obtained justice for an individual harmed or when they can return money to someone who may have lost property or cash as the result of a crime, Adkins counts these as the highlights of his profession. He also said that if he can prevent a victim from reliving trauma, especially in cases involving sexual abuse, this also brings satisfaction.
“I usually run out personally and take the money or a check to the person for restitution,” Adkins said. “These property crimes … people work hard for what they have and we need to make things right.”
“I am very proud that we have assembled a great team of prosecutors and staff to prosecute felony crime that occur here in our county,” he added. “The job as prosecutor requires experience and the ability to work closely with all law enforcement agencies across this county and the state of Ohio. I have been blessed that the public has entrusted me with the opportunity to create those bonds over the last several years.”
Adkins said the things he and his staff encounter are no joke and that “these are real-life scenarios we are facing on a daily basis in my office. I have answered these calls for the last 30 years with the trust and support of the people of Gallia County, and with their continued confidence I humbly seek another term to continue the important work we have started.”
For more information, contact the Gallia County Courthouse at the number 740-446-0018 or the Office of Gallia County Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Adkins Facebook page.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.