PRIMARY ELECTION 2018: Moore, Mays vying for Republican nod for Sheriff

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By Todd Martin

When longtime Shelby County Sheriff Mike Armstrong announced earlier this year his intent to retire, several were eager to fill his seat.


Vying for the Republican slot on the ballot, Timothy Mark Moore and Keith Mays both have experience in law enforcement and hope to make Shelby County a safer community for future generations.

“One of the biggest things that has inspired me to run for sheriff is the safety and security of or children and their schools. With the recent school shootings, we need to do everything within us to keep our schools safe,” said Mays, a retired law enforcement officer. “While the majority of the members of the sheriff’s office do an awesome job, it is time to take the department into a different direction. A direction that is more attuned to fighting the crimes we are facing today.”

Moore said his intent to run, however, is aimed at continuing the current progress.

“Just six weeks after my State Police assignment to Shelby County, [former] Sheriff Harold Tingle and Chief Deputy Mike Armstrong assumed their newly elected positions at the sheriff’s office. I watched the sheriff’s office – and hopefully had some positive influence – grow into the professional organization it is today,” he said. “Through friendships forged since 1990, I have been encouraged to seek this office to continue this positive progress.”

Moore’s platform is “Continued Excellence, Spirited Cooperation!” and he says the sheriff’s office is one of the most professional and progressive in the state.

“With 36 years of police experience – and more than 25 years of drug investigation experience – I have worked with many civic, city, county, state and federal agencies throughout this commonwealth,” he said, noting no single group or agency can impact the growth and substance abuse problem we face today. “If government, courts, police, clergy, counseling, civic groups and others with positive community goals do not come together, then no lasting change will be realized.”

Mays also noted a desire to tackle substance abuse issues in the county.

“There are several major issues facing Shelby County, the increase of crime which is directly and/or indirectly related to the heroin and opioid epidemic and the safety and security of our children and their schools,” he said, explaining that he looks to add more patrol deputies if he becomes sheriff.

“I plan on increasing patrol deputies. As of now there are only three deputies on patrol per shift, patrolling close to four hundred square miles and sworn to protect about 46,000 people. On average it may take 30-45 minutes if not longer to answer a call. That is totally unacceptable,” he said. I plan on increasing the number of patrol deputies, which will increase response times and becoming more proactive and visible. Having additional deputies will allow us to tackle the drug epidemic head on.”

Moore, however, said he intends to continue carrying out the existing service the department offers.

“I am proud of our sheriff’s office, and I hope our citizens realize the progress made by Sheriff Tingle and Sheriff Armstrong. Rather than change the office, I hope to enhance the office with “Spirited Cooperation,” meaning, engagement with other agencies and groups with positive community goals.

Moore said increasing the current staff would be helpful but costly.

“Growth is one major issue facing Shelby County, I plan to work hand in hand with the county fiscal court to provide the police services our citizens deserve. I am not so uninformed as to promise the doubling of the sheriff’s staff. While I would welcome twice the available manpower, I understand fiscal responsibility to the taxpayers,” he said. “I believe the sheriff’s office has the opportunity for some growth, without impacting the current budget. It is my plan to build agency/group relationships for the best interest of our county.”

Mays said he also looks to build relationships, especially with those that relate to education and youth by enhancing and expanding school resource officers, teaching high school students driving laws, as well as texting and driving and consequences, tackling the heroin epidemic, training and equipping every patrol deputy with lifesaving tools and AED, ensuring every deputy is trained in crisis intervention, increasing training hours over the state requirements, advance education on mental health issues and add an animal control division.

“I also will work with the board of education on creating a more advanced and proactive school safety plan,” he said. “Additionally, I will increase training on dealing with individuals with drug addictions and mental illness.”

With several current members of the department running for the position, Moore said his experience sets him apart from the rest.

“It was not by design or predisposition that my work experience allowed me to work with police agencies of many levels and that my senseless love of undercover narcotics investigations brought me to this place at this time. It was simply the perfect storm,” he said. “I have the agency relationship building skills and understanding of drug culture that Shelby County citizens need, at this time.”

But Mays said it’s his outsider service that will benefit the community best.

“Not already being a member of the sheriff’s office is an advantage. Just like a university goes outside to hire a new basketball coach, the sheriff in this case should also come from the outside. I will be coming into the office without blinders on. I will be able to see the big picture more clearly and without prejudice. My education, training and experience from the “big city” of Louisville Metro distinguishes me from the rest,” he said.

The winner of the Republican Primary will face the winner of the Democrat Primary between Gene Witt and Fred Rothenburger in the Nov. 6 election.