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Election 2014, Sheriff: Shirley wins primary, earns right to face Armstrong

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By Lisa King

A former Shelbyville Police chief with 20 plus years experience in law enforcement making his second run for the office of sheriff came out on top in Tuesday’s Republican Primary Election.

Stewart Shirley, 51, who ran unsuccessfully against Democratic Armstrong in 2010, garnered 40 percent of the vote in the primary with 1,298 votes, to Bruce Gentry’s 35 percent (1,144) and Steven Ladden’s 23 percent (761).

Since retiring from the Shelbyville P.D. 11 years ago – where he was chief for two years and served for 20 years with the department before that – Shirley has been serving as deputy property valuation officer for Shelby County.

Shirley could not be reached for comment, but said in his campaign platform that he wanted to see a more diverse patrol by deputies in the more remote county areas.

Gentry, 46, a Shelbyville Police sergeant who came in second place, isa 10-year veteran of the Shelbyville P.D., who has also worked for the Kentucky Alcohol and Beverage Control as an inspector and as an investigator for the Department of Public Advocacy at the Kentucky Justice Cabinet in Frankfort.

He said he doesn’t intend to let defeat at the polls get him down, and that he intends to make another stab at it in four years.

“I’ll be around; Shelbyville’s my home – I’m not going anywhere,” he said.

Gentry expressed appreciation for those who voted for him.

“I’d like to thank everyone for allowing me into the homes and listening to me, and for all the support they showed,” he said.

Ladden, who was head of security at the Citadel Mall in Colorado Springs from 1982-85 and served as a police officer at the Colorado Springs P.D. until the early 1990s, expressed similar sentiments.

“I am very grateful for the people who encouraged me and supported me,” he said. “I want to congratulate Stewart Shirley on his win and I want to say that this has been such a great, positive experience. Shelby County has a lot of great people.”

Shirley will challenge Armstrong, the Democratic incumbent, again this fall.

Armstrong has held the office since 2003.