Franklin County Sheriff Bill Overton announced Thursday he will seek a third term.
Overton, who was first elected sheriff in 2012, is the first declared candidate in the race.
“The challenges are still before us, and evil still lurks, which is why I am committed and have a desire to seek another term as your Sheriff,” Overton wrote in an announcement released by the sheriff’s office Thursday afternoon. He did not immediately return a voicemail message.
Among accomplishments over his tenure, Overton cited the agency’s fight against drugs, adoption of an emergency medical dispatch system, and accreditation by the state.
“One of my top priorities is the safety and security of our students, faculty, and staff in our schools,” Overton said, noting he assigned two more deputies to Franklin County High School after the 2018 mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. “I will continue to work at getting more deputies or other security personnel at all schools throughout the county.”
If re-elected, Overton said the department would continue to strongly enforce drug laws in an attempt to deal with drugs’ presence generally while specifically mitigating the opioid epidemic.
“While we know we cannot arrest ourselves out of this national crisis, the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia must continue to be enforced,” he said. “To help combat these issues, I have increased manpower and provided additional resources to the drug interdiction and narcotic units.”
He said the sheriff’s office was also working with local nonprofits, churches and other groups “to make a significant impact” on the crisis.
At a panel discussion on the opioid issue at Ferrum College last year, Overton told the audience he has a son dealing with addiction. Overton said he especially supports faith-based recovery services, which has helped his family.
In November, the office completed the installation of an emergency medical dispatch, meaning 911 dispatchers can provide CPR and other medical instructions, and better allocate medic resources.
Overton also cited the department’s reaccreditation by the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission, which was a 2012 campaign goal.
As of the end of 2018, a political action committee to re-elect Overton had received 61 donations totaling just under $4,300.
When Overton ran in 2011 as an independent, after losing a 2007 election, he had already served 27 years in the sheriff’s office. He is the son of Quint Overton, who was sheriff of Franklin County from 1976 to 2007.
Staff writer Casey Fabris contributed to this report.