(Note: Tony Breeden’s comments have been added. He says he did not receive messages seeking his input.)

Michael Belk, Chris Blevins, Tony Breeden, Heath Clevenger, and Beth Bryant Tolson are running in the Republican primary for York County Sheriff on June 11.

The Fort Mill Sun asked each candidate this question: Can you speak directly to residents in the Fort Mill area and why you are the best candidate to serve them and their specific needs? They were given no restriction on the length of their answers.

Chris Blevins

“In working for the York County Sheriff’s Office, I have developed a great understanding of the common crimes in Fort Mill.  Fort Mill District is unique because it is split down the middle by I77. This is convenient for residents during their daily commute and makes living in Fort Mill desirable.  However, this also is a prime area for criminals from Charlotte to come commit crimes and quickly flee back across the state line. 

“I am aware of a problem with B&E Autos as in the past my unit has conducted surveillance in parking lots to catch criminals breaking into cars.  Property Crimes such as Burglary and Grand Larceny are also another problem in Fort Mill for the same aforementioned reasons. 

“I will be tough on criminals crossing the border to commit these crimes in York County; this will aid in building close working relationships with CMPD to assist in the identification and arrest of subjects exploiting the state line.  I understand past and current problems and will continue to place resources, time, and effort into making the Fort Mill community a safe and secure place to reside.”

Heath Clevenger

“I can speak to your specific needs due to my experience across the county, as your community sits right next to the border of Charlotte and Lancaster. As Sheriff of York County, I understand that you have different needs than other parts of the county.

“I know that both you and I want York County to have a reputation for holding those accountable for their actions. I want law and order to be a foregone conclusion for how incidents will be handled in York County and for the criminals to steer clear for fear of losing their freedom.”

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Beth Bryant Tolson

“Being Fort Mill is on the border of Charlotte, we need to continue to look for ways to keep those criminals from others jurisdictions from coming into our communities any victimizing our citizens. Working with the solicitor ‘s office to make sure those that come here to commit crimes are prosecuted to the fullest.”

Michael Belk

“Each area of York County has its own unique needs and challenges for law enforcement. With the incredible growth Fort Mill has seen over the past 20+ years, it is important to assess how we are servicing the area to ensure we are providing public safety in the most efficient and effective way.

“Calls for service should always drive the resources allocated to the area, but we can also use a variety of technological resources to enhance public safety while allowing Deputies more time for patrol activities and community engagement. Because of my experience as a commander in Rock Hill, I am well-versed in analyzing intelligence data then tailoring our law enforcement response to different areas of the city while at the same time engaging the community to ensure that we are listening to the concerns of the people that live there.

“As Sheriff, I will ensure that the York County Sheriff’s Office remains engaged and responds effectively to the varying and growing areas of York county.”

Tony Breeden

“I plan on focusing on the specific needs of not only Fort Mill,  but the entire county. I won’t use ‘national talking points’ to accomplish this. I will listen to residents and use enforcement measures to ensure public safety. Spending significant time in the Fort Mill area, traffic and crime directly adjacent to Charlotte are major concerns. I’ll focus on the needs and crime to improve quality of life for all citizens in the county.”

Greg "Ricky Bobby" Rickabaugh has lived in the Fort Mill and York County community since 2006. He has covered the area while a reporter for The Charlotte Observer and a freelance writer for The Fort Mill...

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