Two candidates running for Candler Co. Sheriff in special electi - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Two candidates running for Candler Co. Sheriff in special election

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

Counties across our area will pick their sheriff either this summer or this fall, but Candler County voters head to the polls even before that.

Long time Sheriff Homer Bell abruptly retired last fall, citing health reasons after more than 30 years in office. The winner of this special election will bring a relatively younger perspective no matter who wins.

Nearly every building and every yard has a sign for either Interim Sheriff Blake Hendrix or longtime Deputy John Miles. Both bring experience, but from different perspectives.

"I was brought up in the state patrol, which I consider the most elite law enforcement in the state,” said Interim Sheriff Hendrix.

"I've gained experience in investigation, training, administration...all in preparation in running for sheriff,” said Deputy Miles.

Both say Candler County voters tell them they want more effort in fighting drugs and keeping schools safe. Miles, who's taken leave time to campaign, says it's an uphill fight to run against his interim boss. He says the department must change and modernize.

"People want a more professional sheriff's office in Candler County. People want the schools to have a positive law enforcement presence,” said Miles.

In many aspects, Hendrix agrees.

"The retired sheriff was an old school sheriff. Technology wasn't a priority to him. I want to change that,” said Hendrix.

The March 1st special election will only serve as a short-term answer. The winner, and anyone who challenges for the office, must qualify later in March for a May primary and a November general election. 

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