The Advance-Monticellonian spoke with Drew County Sheriff candidates Tim Nichols and James Slaughter to discuss their intentions if elected to the office of Sheriff in the December 6 run-off.
Each candidate was asked the same questions and these were their statements.
Q: Why do you want to be Drew County’s next Sheriff?
Tim Nichols: I want to be Sheriff for various reasons. As a second generation Law Enforcement Officer, it’s always been a dream of mine growing up. I watched my dad take steps within his career and become Sheriff in Chicot County. However, as I’ve grown up, I’ve realized that it isn’t about the “dream” of being Sheriff but instead the fact that I want to do my part in protecting our families. I also believe that the Sheriff must be approachable, be compassionate and also stand firm against evil. I believe that with the help of other leaders and the people, we can make Drew County a better and safer place to live, work, visit but most importantly, raise a family. That is why I want to be Drew County Sheriff.
James Slaughter: I want to be sheriff because I truly know I can motivate the deputies to be great at serving Drew County. I have a great working relationship with all the law enforcement in Drew County and I am respected by most officers in Drew County, from all departments. I am not running as sheriff to have power or control, I am running as sheriff to serve Drew County citizens as they deserve.
Q: What qualifies you for this position?
Tim Nichols: I am a 15 year Law Enforcement Officer who has been blessed and entrusted to hold various positions within Law Enforcement, such as Patrol, Criminal Investigations (Investigations of all types of crimes), Law Enforcement Training Instructor, Departmental Trainer, Firearms Instructor, Sex Offender Violator Coordinator/Compliance Officer, Taser Instructor, Drug Case Management/Finances, and Administrative Positions. I am familiar with Jail Standard Requirements and Laws, and I believe in and practice Community Oriented Policing.
James Slaughter: I am qualified as sheriff because I have 12 years experience in law enforcement and multiple certifications in different fields of law enforcement. Again, I have the respect of most officers in Drew County and a great relationship with all departments in and around Drew County.
Q: If elected, what are your top three priorities for Drew County?
Tim Nichols: I want to serve the people of Drew County with dignity, respect, and community oriented policing. I will stand firm against evil and enforce the laws while also showing compassion when it needs to be shown. I will work with Local, State and Federal Officials in order to help the jail crisis in which we are facing in our area and state, in hopes to better protect our families and loved ones.
James Slaughter: If elected, my top three goals would be first, get law enforcement more interactive with our children and schools. I have already began to get classes, education, and awareness classes prepared for our children. The children are our future and they are what’s most important. I believe we need more interaction with the children and teachers from all law enforcement and not just our School Resource Officers that are at the schools. We have a great SRO at both schools and we need all of our officers more involved. My second goal is to build a great team at the sheriff’s office. I plan on having a team that is certified and trained in all fields of law enforcement and especially motivated in serving the citizens of Drew County. My third goal is to focus on the drug dealers in Drew county. We may not stop them all, but we will do our best to try. Drugs are not only affecting the person on it, but affecting the family, friends, and our community. We need to offer help to the users that sincerely have a problem and want the help. We will focus on the ones selling the drugs and putting it in the hands of our community and children.
Q: How do you intend to handle the current personnel employed by the Sheriff’s office?
Tim Nichols: If I am elected as Drew County Sheriff, I will bring in my own Chief Deputy and Jail Administrator. Current Chief Deputy Brian Slaughter and I have recently spoken and he is aware of his position being filled by Officer Jerome Perez if I am elected. Although I have not personally spoken with current Jail Administrator Mrs. Susan Potts, it is my understanding that she will be retiring at the end of the year. Her replacement will be with someone who is very familiar with the ins and outs of the Drew County Detention Facility, Billings and Jail Standards. As far as the Deputies go, it is my understanding that the department is fully staffed and I plan on keeping it that way contrary to rumors circulating. I will hope to address and resolve some issues about take home vehicles and living a within a certain proximity of Drew County, coming up with a positive resolution.
James Slaughter: I believe we have some great personnel at the sheriff’ department. I have a few plans to rearrange some of the positions but I believe we have some great employees and with the relationship I have with them, I believe the sheriff’s department can be and will be one of the best in Arkansas.
Q: Give a brief statement about your law enforcement background and ties to Drew County.
Tim Nichols: Throughout my career, I have been blessed to work with and around some amazing people and I have been involved in various cases of all types of crimes. I have also been involved with some amazing programs to help better serve the people as a member of Law Enforcement. I am a 15 year Law Enforcement Officer, 12 year Taser Instructor, 10 year Criminal Investigator, 10 year Professional Law Enforcement Instructor, 10 year Firearms Instructor, 10 year Drug Case Management, 10 year Administrator, and three year active member of the Arkansas Infant/Youth Death Review Board of Southeast Arkansas. My ties to Drew County are strong and deeply rooted. The maternal side of the family are natives of Drew County. My great grandfather was John Wesley Martar and my Grandmother was Bessie Mae Nowlen Martar. The name Nowlen is where I got my middle name, Nolan. I have a bunch of family still here in Drew County. My wife Jennifer and I have four children, Skyler (fiancé Silvino), Jordan, Laytn and Lukas. I attended Drew Central High School and Jennifer attended Monticello High School. We are members of First Free Will Baptist Church of Monticello and have been active members for six years. Drew County is a place that I love and I call home.
James Slaughter: I have been advised that a lot of people are still confusing me with Brian slaughter, the current chief deputy at the sheriff’s department. I am not Brian nor are we brothers. I, James Slaughter, am currently employed by Monticello Police Department and assigned to the Drug Task Force. I have 12 years of law enforcement experience, law enforcement instructor, narcotic investigator for over five years, only one of few Drug Recognition Expert in South Arkansas, and numerous more certifications and qualifications in law enforcement and fire fighting.
Q: Is there anything else you want the public to know before they cast their vote?
Tim Nichols: I, Tim Nichols, am running for Drew County Sheriff to serve you and your families. I will use my experience and training to better serve you and to make Drew County a better and safer place to live, work, visit but most importantly, raise a family. I am running as an Independent Candidate because I do not feel as though the Sheriff should be tied up in political parties. A Sheriff is to stand for the people and by the people. They are to protect Constitutional Rights, Civil Liberties, Freedoms, and stand firm against evil, while also being compassionate and willing to help others. If elected as your next Drew County Sheriff, that is my pledge to you. I will work for you and with you and your families as one Drew County. Thank you and God Bless.
James Slaughter: I would appreciate your vote on December 6, 2022. I am excited to serve and help Drew County.
Early voting for the run-off election begins at 8 a.m. Monday, November 28 at the Drew County Court House and will go through normal business hours. Election Day is Tuesday, December 6.