County manager will run for sheriff

County manager will run for sheriff

February 1st, 2012 by Chris Carroll in Local Regional News

Catoosa County Manager Mike Helton wants to go back into law enforcement, this time as sheriff.

Helton wants to replace Phil Summers, the longtime Catoosa County sheriff who recently announced he would retire at the end of his term.

Helton, 49, said nearly three decades in municipal work, including 16 years in law enforcement, qualifies him for the job. Being county manager puts him in charge of 15 different departments and entities, he said.

"The training I've gotten has equipped me to lead a law enforcement agency," he said in a news release.

A former Catoosa County Magistrate Court judge, Helton said his time with the East Ridge Police Department and the Catoosa County Sheriff's Office's criminal investigation division has prepared him to fill Summers' shoes.

As sheriff, Helton said he would try to curb recidivism and work to "keep Catoosa's neighborhoods safe." He said he wouldn't necessarily shake things up after Summers' tenure, which began in 1991.

"We've got a good sheriff's department," he said. "With the economy as it is, we're not guaranteed more resources. We'll look at the department and maximize what's already available."

But keeping people safe isn't his only goal.

"I want to foster the kind of environment that welcomes new businesses and job opportunities for our citizens," he said. "Our sheriff needs to have the right combination of street experience, training and administrative experience to handle the job."

Other announced candidates include Catoosa County Sheriff's Office Maj. Gary Sisk.

Helton said he would run as a Republican. The primary election is July 31. The general election is Nov. 6.