Prosecutor candidate addresses crime watch

By Kevin Kelly - For the Daily Tribune

VINTON — A candidate for Gallia County prosecuting attorney outlined his goals earlier this month for the office during the monthly meeting of the Huntington-Morgan Crime Watch.

Jason Holdren, who’s opposing incumbent Democrat Jeff Adkins in the Nov. 8 general election, identifies drug usage as a primary source for an upswing in criminal activity and advocates a stronger role for the prosecutor in combating the prevalence of drugs in the community.

This can be accomplished in part by directing funds obtained from drug seizures to education and rehabilitation, Holdren said. He places an emphasis on the latter to help turn offenders away from drugs and the need to support their dependence on them. Holdren added that he’d also use the money to purchase more K-9 units with drug-detecting capability.

“I think there is a segment of our population who are addicts, but are not criminals,” he said. “If we can provide services to the people who aren’t yet criminals, then we should do it.”

A graduate of Ohio Valley Christian School and Marshall University, Holdren obtained his law degree from Western Michigan University’s Cooley School of Law and has had a practice in Gallipolis since 2009. The Crown City-area resident has worked as an assistant prosecutor in Gallia and Vinton counties.

During the meeting, Deputy Jeff Provens reported that Chan, the new K-9 unit assigned to him, has participated in 17 traffic stops, the majority in Vinton, where he patrols 40 hours per month. Two search warrants executed in the the northern part of the county by the sheriff’s office have yielded 37 grams of heroin, he added.

Crime Watch President Brandi Whealdon reported that 10 additional signs have been ordered from the sheriff for placement both in the village and Huntington Township.

“When we started this, it was getting worse and worse, but the village arranged for two deputies (to patrol) and the issues have been addressed,” she said. “The word is getting out and with everyone working together, it will help in fighting the drug problem.”

The Crime Watch’s next meeting is Oct. 4 at 6:30 p.m. in Vinton Village Hall. Residents of Huntington and Morgan townships are invited to participate.

By Kevin Kelly

For the Daily Tribune