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Reid to challenge Brown for sheriff

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By John Barnhart

    Chuck Reid, a 30-year law enforcement veteran, will challenge Bedford County Sheriff Mike Brown in this year’s election.

    Reid, a Bedford County native, was first hired as a deputy in 1980 by former Sheriff Carl Wells. He began as a road deputy and later served as an investigator. Reid said that he was part of the regional homicide squad and also worked as an undercover investigator in conjunction with the federal Drug Enforcement Agency.
    He went to Camp 24, now known as the Moneta Adult Detention Center, in 1996. The minimum security jail was run by the Sheriff’s Office at that time. When Bedford County joined the Blue Ridge Regional Jail system, the Moneta facility went to the new regional jail system and Reid chose to go with it. He said he made this decision because it meant he would be promoted to captain and become the facility’s site administrator.
    The Moneta facility is being closed. Reid said that the last inmates were transferred last month and he is in the process of doing the final inventory there before it closes. He will retire on Nov. 1.
    Reid attended Liberty High School, but left in 1969, before graduating, to join the Marine Corps. He finished his high school education while in the Marines and, during his two-year enlistment, served as a firearms instructor at Paris Island.
    After he left the Marine Corps, he became a  full-time  musician  playing  with  several bands, including Phil Vassar and the Lancers. That ended after two years and he went to work for Spector Freight system.
    “Then, I got married,” he said, explaining why he ended his music career. Reid said he concluded at that time that he wasn’t going to make it in the music world, so it was time to “get a real job.”
    When Spector Freight closed in 1980, he became a sheriff’s deputy. Reid said he had always been interested in law enforcement and there were police officers in his family. His uncles, Robert and Jack Reid and a cousin, Nelson Johnson, had been Bedford police officers.
    Reid believes he has a well-rounded background in law enforcement that has prepared him to be sheriff. He has worked as a road deputy and in homicide and drug investigations for half of his career. The other half involved administrative work in the jail.
    “This is not about me and Mike Brown,” Reid commented, concerning his decision to challenge Brown for reelection. Reid said that Brown has always been cordial to him.
    Reid said that he believes that, if elected, he can reduce the Sheriff’s Office budget, running a leaner department without jeopardizing its ability to function. He said that the county could use the money saved for the school budget.
    “I have been dealing with budgets for 14 years,” he said.
    Reid said that it would be difficult to cite specifics without having the opportunity to sit down and look at the Sheriff’s Office budget in detail. However, he did offer some broad areas where he believes savings or efficiencies could be found.
    One area is the use of deputies to check tractor-trailers. Reid said that this should be left to State Police. These deputies could be more effectively used investigating break-ins and larcenies, he said.    
    He also believes that he can reduce vehicle replacement costs by running vehicles longer, and he believes that he can reduce fuel costs.    
    “You can do anything you want to do if you look at it and work hard enough at it,” he said.
    Reid also said that, as sheriff, he would seek input from the people who work for him. He said that this is something that he’s done at the jail.
    “You can’t go in there and say, ‘It’s my way or no way,’” Reid commented.
    He also plans to get out of the office and talk to citizens around the county. Reid said that he would rather take the heat directly from any citizen who is unhappy with the way the Sheriff’s Office is working.
    Reid is critical of the way Brown handles Internet investigations against pedophiles. He said that the investigators should not bring pedophiles from outside Bedford County here in order to arrest them. He said that, if they find somebody in another locality, they should contact law enforcement in that locality and let them handle it. Reid said that bringing them here and arresting them in a sting operation amounts to “using our children as bait.”
    Reid also believes that Brown is planning for an in-house successor once his term ends, if he’s reelected. Reid feels that, for this reason, a change is needed now.
    Mike Brown was elected in a five-way race in 1995 after Sheriff Carl Wells retired. Chuck Reid was one of the unsuccessful candidates in that race, coming in third.
    Charles D. Green of Huddleston, who ran for sheriff four years ago, had also originally planned to throw his hat in the ring this year, but decided this week to withdraw.
    “In studying the past elections for the Sheriff’s Office, the number of candidates running and the outcome, I have decided that it is in the best interest for me to drop from the sheriff’s race and support Chuck Reid for the next sheriff of Bedford County,” Green stated.
    Green said that Reid’s extensive experience in law enforcement, along with his experience running the Moneta detention center, makes him qualified to become sheriff.
    “He has served our community in law enforcement for almost 30 years and deserves our support,” Green stated.
    “I have known Mr. Reid for a number of years and have found him to be truthful, honest and up front in dealing with me,” Green stated. “He takes his job seriously and values the safety of the residents and businesses of Bedford City and Bedford County.”
    Green said the words “To Serve and Protect” are more than just words to Reid. “They mean service and dedication in getting the job done,” he said. “With the rapid rise in crime in the county today, we need a sheriff like Chuck Reid who will work for the people. That’s why I am supporting Chuck Reid for sheriff.”