Editor’s Note: As we approach the March Primary Election, the Gallipolis Daily Tribune will be running articles allowing the candidates in contested races to introduce themselves and tell the voters why they are running for office. Each candidate is asked, in their own words, to respond to two questions — tell us about yourself and why are you running for this office — with a word limit set for each response.
GALLIA COUNTY — In the March Primary, Republican voters in Gallia County will be picking from two candidates to run for County Sheriff come November.
Running in the contested primary race are Incumbent Sheriff Matt Champlin of Gallipolis and challenger Richard Harrison of Bidwell.
Submitted information from Champlin and Harrison is listed below with candidate profiles appearing in alphabetical order:
Tell us about yourself
Matt Champlin, candidate for re-election to the office of Gallia County Sheriff, has served as the elected sheriff of Gallia County since January 2, 2017. Prior to assuming the Office, Sheriff Champlin served as Lieutenant with the Gallipolis Police Department. Throughout his eighteen years of service with the police department, Sheriff Champlin was promoted twice, achieving the ranks of Sergeant and Lieutenant. With these promotions came new responsibilities including administrative duties such as agency scheduling, first line supervision, training and supervision of the agency’s special response team, training and supervision of the agency’s honor guard, oversight of the agency’s weapons and firearms training programs, as well as being responsible for the field training of new officers. Sheriff Champlin also served as a plain clothes narcotics investigator for over two years, and was a professional canine handler for over seventeen years.
Since taking office in 2017, Sheriff Champlin has focused on bringing resources to Gallia County by forming partnerships with organizations such as the United States Marshals Service, The Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Through these working relationships, the citizens of Gallia County have benefited from an increased ability of the office to solve crimes and seek out criminals. Partnering with such agencies has created an environment of proactive policing, which has created statistically significant positive outcomes in overall crime reduction. Under his leadership, the Sheriff’s Office has worked diligently in concert with the Gallia County Prosecutor’s Office to seek justice for victims in Gallia County.
Why are you running for this office
My decision to first seek the office of Gallia County Sheriff in 2016 was not one I entered into lightly. During my years as a public servant in Gallia County, my focus has always been to train and prepare myself to be the best benefit to the people I serve and to challenge myself with new professional endeavors.
After much conversation with trusted law enforcement professionals, I determined that my skill set would be an asset to the people of Gallia County and to the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office. Whether coaching youth sports, or providing education in drug prevention or active shooter preparedness, I strive to prepare and provide the tools necessary for our community to build a better future. Having now completed the first three years of my first term of office, my focus has been refined to ensuring that my office provides the best services to the citizens. Our goal as a collective agency is to continue to reduce crime in Gallia County. Since taking office, we have seen a decline in all victim related crimes paired with an increase in community policing initiatives. Additionally, we have focused on community outreach and building citizen relationships through initiatives geared towards one-on-one contacts between our staff and the citizens we serve. Creating positive infrastructure change within the community has also been a focus of my administration. One of the changes I have had the privilege of making happen is the building of a new county jail, set to begin construction this year. Having laid the framework for this new endeavor, it is of the utmost importance to me that I be able to see it through to its inception and continue to bring about positive change needed in Gallia County.
Tell us about yourself
I am Richard Harrison, Republican candidate for Gallia County Sheriff. As a lifelong resident of Gallia County with 24 years of experience in law enforcement, I am committed to serving you. In 1996, I began my journey in corrections and 19 of those 24 years, I served you as a deputy at the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office. During my service, I was promoted to road patrol then to Sergeant as well as becoming a K-9 handler. I have conducted crime watches, spent time as a terrorist liaison, SWAT team leader, as well as a village marshal. I am a six-year army veteran that takes pride in serving my country which included a tour in Operation Iraq Freedom II (OIF II), and service as a military police. I have supervised both U.S. and foreign civilians and soldiers alike. My free time is spent with my family which includes my fiancé, two adult children, three minor step-children, and three grandchildren.
Why are you running for this office?
I am running for Gallia County Sheriff because I care for my community and I am committed to making Gallia County a better place to live for my family and yours. My experience and knowledge gives me the ability to correct the current issues we are facing. When elected, I have plans to improve training for both staff and citizens. I will develop community partnerships with the citizens by rebuilding these relationships so that there is faith and trust with the Sheriff’s office once again. It is of the utmost importance that there is unity between the public and the law enforcement. To see that this happens, I have plans to include, but not limited to, publishing the office budget and holding regular community meetings. I will increase and improve the amount of officers in order to deter crime. I will also create a well regulated jail with properly trained staff that will allow the inmates to be safely contained while given the option for treatment. I will make other resources available that will help inmates learn the skills to become productive member of society and reduce recidivism. It is my mission to restore faith, respect, and trust back into the Gallia County Sheriff’s office. Thank you for your support!