I was able to cover the Buchanan County Sheriff's election. Some would say it was the most heated and controversial race for the county. Prior to the primary I sat down with each of the four candidates to do a profile.
By MEGAN TILK
St. Joseph News-Press
With more than 29 years of experience, strong moral values and some of the biggest signs in town, Republican candidate for Buchanan County sheriff Galen Higdon hopes he has what it takes.
The St. Joseph native knew at a young age that law enforcement was in his future. His father was a St. Joseph Police Department officer.
After 29 years patrolling the county roads Mr. Higdon, a current sergeant with the patrol division, noticed a change in the direction the department was heading and thought he could do a better job. Mr. Higdon made his decision to run for office two weeks before filing for the position began.
He said his wife of 34 years and his three daughters said his decision to run for sheriff was long overdue.
“I enjoy what I’m doing and the enforcement part is something I really enjoy doing,” Mr. Higdon said. “Now I think it’s time I set my values on to some of the younger guys and get them to enjoy what they do.”
As a showing of his values Mr. Higdon is asking fellow deputies not to assist in his campaign process.
“It’s so I don’t feel like I owe them anything,” Mr. Higdon said. “It’s happened before and higher positions were used as a repayment.”
Some of the key areas Mr. Higdon hopes to improve on if elected include reducing budget spending, doing away with the current vehicle fleet and boosting morale within the department.
“I want to be a better steward with peoples’ tax money and spend it a little wiser,” said Mr. Higdon. “Eliminating the fleet of Durangos will cut fuel costs and maintenance spending.”
Mr. Higdon says he sees no use for the department’s large fleet of the four-wheel-drive vehicles.
“Those cars are not even police vehicles,” Mr. Higdon said. “If you look at the warning on their sun visor it says don’t travel at excessive speeds or make sharp maneuvers — we’re cops.”
Mr. Higdon plans to trade off a majority of the “gas guzzling” fleet and buy quality used, police packaged cars. He said in the time he has spent driving a Durango around the county he has never had a need for its four wheel drive or extra ground clearance features.
“The county road crews are fantastic today as well as MoDOT and St. Joseph maintenance. If a snowstorm hits, it’s not long before those roads are clear,” Mr. Higdon said.
Mr. Higdon will face off against fellow Republican sheriff candidate Brian Carter in the Aug. 5 primary.
The two men give Republican voters something to be proud of, said Ken Beck, a board member with the Northwest Missouri Republican Club.
“Higdon brings a quality to the sheriff’s office that needs to be looked at,” Mr. Beck said in reference to the years of experience Mr. Higdon has. “I think the Republican Party should be very proud of what the two men bring to the party.”
Mr. Higdon is a former vice president of the Missouri Sheriff’s Deputy Association and feels that gives him the extra experience necessary as a sheriff for Buchanan County.
“As the former vice president, I know how to manage money and I want to bring back moral values to the department and safeguard the people of Buchanan County,” Mr. Higdon said
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first in a series of profiles of the four candidates for Buchanan County sheriff.