St. Francois County Sheriff Dan Bullock has announced that he will run for reelection — as a Republican.
Bullock, 65, has served seven terms as a Democrat and joins Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff Gary Stolzer in changing party affiliation from Democrat to Republican. The longest serving sheriff in the history of St. Francois County has finally ended several weeks, if not months, of speculation about his political future.
“After much discussion with friends and families and employees, I’ve decided I’m going to run for sheriff again,” he said. “We’ve done a lot of soul-searching and talking with family and friends and employees. It wasn’t something that was a quick thing, been thinking about it for the last two to three months.
“I’ve been begged by some of my employees, they are getting close to retirement, because you know the deputies serve at the sheriff’s pleasure. I don’t know that any of them were worried about losing their jobs, they certainly didn’t want to take a chance on it.”
According to Bullock, his conservative beliefs have collided with the party he has been aligned with for decades.
“I am going to run as a Republican this time,” he said. “I’ve been welcomed in with open arms from the local conservatives that I know. I’m not really abandoning the Democrat Party. I feel as though over the last several years they have kind of abandoned me, they’ve kind of moved to the left too far.
“The local Democrat leaders here over the years that used to get out and be middle of the road people and back the candidates and take care of you are no longer involved," he said. "The party itself, I believe has moved away from my morals and values.”
Bullock is looking forward to implementing new changes in the department policies by hiring a new jail administrator.
“Jamie Crump has been involved with law enforcement over 30 years and has been involved with a leadership role with the Department of Corrections for several years,” Bullock said. “He has a lot of good ideas and things we can look at and things we can do to make things safer for inmates, as well as staff and the citizens out there.”
Crump began his role last week, replacing Dennis Smith who retired at the end of 2019.
Other areas that concern Bullock are also being addressed in various ways, including deputy pay and updating aging equipment.
“There is a citizen’s committee put together to look at pay for deputies, which we’re on the bottom side of that now, compared to the surrounding counties and cities,” he said. “We are going to get recommendations from them before budget time to see about getting the salaries of deputies up where it’s competitive with other law enforcement agencies.
“We are looking at some things with our facility. We started building it in 1994 and some of that equipment is that old, so a lot of things breaking down and wearing out. It runs 24/7, and we are looking at some ways to try to replace some of that antiquated equipment.”
Mark Marberry is a reporter for the Farmington Press and Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3629, or at email@example.com
Get Government & Politics updates in your inbox!
Stay up-to-date on the latest in local and national government and political topics with our newsletter.