Former Saluda Police Chief Phelps to run for sheriff

Published 4:24 pm Wednesday, November 4, 2009

He says a sheriff&squo;s deputy may be dispatched to calls for service, anything from alarm activations or barking dog complaints to incidents of domestic violence or murder, and everything in between. The sheriff is ultimately responsible for the statements, decisions, actions and/or inactions of his deputies, Phelps says.

Phelps was handed the supervisor&39;s position in charge of the mechanical installation of a $5.5 million rebuild for the Ball Glass Container Group in 1981 when he was 22 years old. He says the job was completed 36 hours ahead of schedule and under the budget limits.

&dquo;It took communication, coordination and cooperation along with putting the right people in the correct position with the proper skills, knowledge and experience to do the job,&dquo; he said.

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In Phelps&squo; law enforcement experience, he says he has been called a shift leader, training officer, senior officer and chief of police. He is currently employed as the security supervisor at the Blue Ridge Mall in Hendersonville.

Phelps has just over 20 years of law enforcement experience, and most has been within the boundaries of Polk County. He served as a patrol officer, D.A.R.E. officer, deputy and his last 3&rac12; years as police chief for the City of Saluda, Region C (Polk, Rutherford, Cleveland and McDowell counties). He was named officer of the year in 2001 and won an outstanding law enforcement award from the Polk County Jaycees in 1998-99, along with numerous letters of commendation and recognition. He has more than 80 college credit hours of education and training in the criminal justice field (associate degrees are in the 70s credit hour range).

Phelps says mixing work and play is unacceptable and his objectives include to bring a standard of professionalism to the sheriff&squo;s office, to work hand in hand with county commissioners and the manager to produce a sheriff&squo;s office the county can be proud of and to commit donating 85 to 90 percent of his salary back into the sheriff&squo;s office budget for training, equipment and supplies.

Phelps, a Republican, is the fourth Polk County candidate to announce their candidacy for sheriff. Current sheriff Donald Hill (D) announced last week as well as Republican candidates Nathan Shields and Gregg O&squo;Steen. Filing for the 2010 election will be next year.