Stockton aims to stay the course with public service

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By Damon Lawrence

When is the last time an incumbent sheriff in Roane County had just one opponent?

Prior to the 2010 election, you would have to go back more than 30 years to find an example.

“That was odd,” Sheriff Jack Stockton said, of this year’s race in which he faced just one opponent. “I don’t remember a one-on-one race.”

The sheriff’s race usually has a crowded field. When Stockton won his first term in 2006, he was one of six candidates.  

Ronald McCuistion was the only person who stepped up to run against Stockton this year.

Stockton won in a landslide, receiving 76.45 percent of the vote.

“It felt good that the people had enough faith in me to elect me to a second term,” Stockton said. “That really felt good and relieved to get it all behind us.”

Leaving the sheriff’s office better than he found it was a goal Stockton spoke about during his first term.  

“We’ve set a standard that they can’t go backwards now,” he said. “They have nowhere to go but up.”

Stockton started his second term on Sept. 1. He said he’d like to stay the course over the next four years, in addition to enhancing the department’s public service.  

“Just come up with some ways to better serve the public and just keep getting better at what we do,” he said.  

Stockton said he’d also like to start a summer camp for local students.   

“Something like an adult citizens police academy, but geared toward the juveniles,” he said. “That’s one thing we wanted to start and just never had an opportunity.”   

Another thing Stockton said he’d like to see this term is funding for additional deputies.

“We could use six instantly,” he said. “It just seems like the number of calls are ever-increasing, and sometimes there’s just not enough people to go around. The need is for six for sure.”  

The new county commission will have to decide whether to fund that need.

“I know that we probably won’t get any people as long as we’re in a recession,” Stockton said.

Stockton didn’t commit to running again in 2014. How things go over the next four years could determine that.

“The public perception can be changed instantly by a mistake,” he said. “Even an honest mistake can change someone’s opinion about you. I’m just thankful that I’m here for another four years. If the good Lord’s willing, I’ll survive this four years and we’ll see what happens at the end of this term.”