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Sheriff’s Race Sees Hoskins and Jarrell Compete

By Staff | Oct 29, 2008

Editor’s note: The Wetzel Chronicle sent questionnaires to candidates in local, contested races. In an effort to provide fair, informative election coverage, they are being printed in simple question and answer format, preceded by the candidates’ biography.)

Democrat incumbent James Hoskins is facing opposition from Jeffrey-Frank Jarrell on the Constitution Party ticket.

Hoskins says he is committed to Wetzel County. He was born here, graduated from Magnolia High School, worked in the Wetzel County Physical Therapy Department, and met his wife of 12 years, Amanda, here. Together they are raising their twin daughters, Brynna and Brooke. As a family they attend the New Martinsville United Methodist Church.

Hoskins is a certified veteran law enforcement officer who began his career as a Wetzel County Deputy Sheriff. He became sheriff in 2004. He has developed new programs for the county including two K-9 units, formed the Special Response Team, and initiated the Officer in the School Program. He has also obtained a Prevention Resource Officer for the Board of Education.

He serves as a board member of Local Schools Improvement Council, Open Door Ministries, W.V. Sheriff’s Association, and is coordinator for the Officer in the School Program. Recently he was elected as secretary to the West Virginia Sheriff’s Association.

He has been endorsed by several local organizations, including the Wetzel County Education Association, Wetzel County Democrat Women’s Club, Upper Ohio Valley Building and Construction Trades Council, Marshall-Wetzel-Tyler Labor Council, United Steelworkers Local #5724, Laborer’s Local #1149, Boilermakers Local #667, Carpenters Local #899, Mid Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters, International Association of Heat/Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers Local #2, West Virginia Sheriff’s Association, and West Virginia State Auditor Glen B. Gainer III.

Jarrell was born April 23 1957, at Fort Mead Army hospital. His family moved to this area when he was a few months old. “I know of no other home,” said Jarrell. He is married to Wilma Wykert and they have three children.

A 1975 graduate of Magnolia High School, Jarrell took extra math and science classes. He then attended one year at Jefferson County Technical Institute. He also attended the Wetzel County Career Center where he took electrical engineering and auto mechanics. He worked for 11-and-a-half years as an auto mechanic, nearly one year construction mechanic, and 30 years at Ormet Primary (13 years production and the last 17 years as a millwright). He is newly trained as an Arial Work Platform safety trainer.

Jarrell says he supports the traditional family and pro-life issues. He believes in protecting private property rights and the second amendment. He wants to start a volunteer trainer CCW class that will let more people become qualified to carry firearms. Jarrell believes in limited government and restoring states’ rights. He is opposed to illegal immigration and unfair international trade agreements. He would like to eliminate useless laws and regulations and believes the punishment should fit the crime.

1. What do you believe is the worst problem in Wetzel County that can be addressed by the sheriff’s department and how would you work toward a resolution?

Hoskins: As the Sheriff and Treasurer of Wetzel County, I must concentrate on all issue that affect our county. There are issue that affect citizens in different ways and each issue must be addressed accordingly. It is important to work with others to solve problems. As sheriff I cannot focus on only one specific issue or problem, I must work toward finding solutions for each issue and resolve these issues by utilizing our available resources and knowledge. I am utilizing our resources and knowledge to keep Wetzel County residents safe.

I have focused on keeping Wetzel County safe by obtaining two K-9 team units, initiated the Officers in the School Program, obtained grant funding for highway safety (DUI and road patrols), obtained grant funding to better equip my Special Response Team (SRT) and also obtained grant funding for a School Prevention Resource Officer. I will continue to work with the Domestic Violence Advocates to increase the safety of men, women, and children threatened by domestic violence. I will continue to seek other funding for a Specialized Victims Deputy, Violent Crimes Task Force, and a second Prevention Resource Officer to be placed by the Board of Education at a second Wetzel County School. This will be the first year for the Safety Pup program. The Safety Pup program is designed to teach elementary school children safety related topics. The Safety Pup program will be taught in each of the elementary schools in Wetzel County.

Jarrell: There are several problems in Wetzel County. Most that come to mind are not the jurisdiction of the sheriff. All can be helped with education. I intend to help start new programs to teach young and old alike.

2. Many local residents have had problems sharing roads with large oil/gas field machinery. Do you have a plan to help alleviate that issue? What is it?

Hoskins: This is an issue that has been addressed with the oil/gas companies and residents. The state has issued permits for these companies to travel on these roads. These companies are utilizing lead vehicles in an attempt to alleviate any problems with traffic flow. These vehicles must obey the rules that govern our roadways. These vehicles cannot be overweight or exceed the specified width limits. I am working with the residents and companies to address these problems and correct them. I think we have made gains in our efforts to keep our roadways safe for the residents of Wetzel County. We will have to continue to be vigilant concerning larger vehicles and equipment traveling in our county. I will continue my efforts to keep Wetzel roadways and residents safe.

Jarrell: I plan to hold town meetings about this and other matters. At which times we can gather information about the different issues. I will assess which problems apply to the sheriff’s office. Assess what can be done by the sheriff’s office. Contact the companies to try to schedule their work in order to let shift change, school, and other high use times be a time when they have the least equipment on the road. Work with city and state to set up “no engine (jake) brake” zones.

With Department Of Transportation, set up an inspection system for before and after, the use of the heavy equipment. Contract with the companies to repair what they break. Set up a fining system for those who cause dangerous situations to other people on or near the highways or anywhere else. I will entertain other suggestions.

3. Illegal drug use seems to be on the rise in Wetzel County, as it is across the country. What can you do to help catch the perpetrators and prevent others from using illegal drugs?

Hoskins: I will continue to work with other law enforcement agencies and the prosecutor’s office to apprehend criminals involved in illegal drug activity. I am working with organizations to seek solutions to the problems we face as law enforcement and parents. As law enforcement officers we are concerned with making the arrests and then the prosecutor’s office proceeds with prosecuting these criminals for any crimes they may have committed. We work with other organizations in an effort to prevent and educate children, parents, and others who are concerned about illegal drug activity. Parents are the most important part of keeping their children away from people involved in illegal drug activity. Ask your child questions and be active in their daily lives.

Through a grant I have added a Prevention Resource Officer (PRO) in a Wetzel County school for the Board of Education and will attempt to obtain another PRO for the 2009-2010 school year. Being active in our schools is very important. This is the reasoning for the Officers in the Schools program. Children and young adults get to know law enforcement and we get to know students.

It is important for children and young adults to know we are on their side. We want them to know that efforts are made to increase their safety. Law enforcement wants these students to attend school and receive an education in a safe and drug free environment. I will continue to work with the Board of Education and our schools to increase the safety and education of our excellent students.

Jarrell: If adults want to use recreational drugs (alcohol, pot, caffeine, nicotine, etc.) in the privacy of their own home/property, and harm no one else, we have no constitutional obligation to stop them. If on the other hand they harm others (driving, abuse, violence, threats, indigence when they have a family) they should be prosecuted. Short jail term the first time, full extent of the law the next time. No third time.

For people with a problem they need to get help on their own. They got themselves into that situation. . . “We the people” need to educate our children and grandchildren that although not unconstitutional, drug use is dangerous, potentially deadly, and can ruin their lives and the lives of their family and friends. People fought and died to give people the right to abuse their bodies. But not to hurt others.

Education is the key here as it is in almost everything. Education needs to come primarily from loved ones, secondarily from school. Pushers should get the max the first time, no second or third chance.