By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Two men are vying for the sheriff’s office in Kingfisher County.
Incumbent Sheriff Dennis Banther faces challenger Michael Jones in the Nov. 6 general election.
Banther is a fifth-generation resident of Kingfisher County and has spent 17 years with the office, the past eight as sheriff. Banther and his wife, Anne, have five children, Noah, Laney, Kiley, Evan and Hadley.
The current sheriff said his office has been targeting drug offenders, which results in less crime overall.
“We’re trying to stop the flow of narcotics from the city into our county,” he said. “We’ve worked hard, and I think it shows.”
Banther said the Kingfisher County Sheriff’s Office has worked with other agencies to fight drug abuse and has been able to increase the amount of patrol while maintaining a cash balance through effective management of accounts.
One of the larger issues Banther sees facing the county is the increase in prescription drug abuse.
“Anytime you’re dealing with a drug-related offense, that expounds to numerous other crimes that occur because of it,” Banther said. “That leads to burglaries, that leads to a multitude of problem crimes to try to pay for them. It leads to accidents when trying to drive down the road without their full facilities.”
He added drug abuse also can lead to violent crimes, as well as mental health issues.
Banther said the sheriff’s office also works closely with nearby agencies to investigate and prevent other crimes.
“We work with (Garfield County Undersheriff) Jerry Niles and other agencies to share information on crimes, such as rural burglaries, to determine if they’re being done by the same individuals,” he said.
Hennessey resident Michael Jones is a reserve officer with Hennessey Police Department. He also has experience as a reserve officer in Canton and Okeene.
Jones and his wife, Dawn, have two daughters, ShiAnn and Mahala.
Jones said he is running for sheriff to ensure the entire county is protected by the sheriff’s office.
“The entire county is entitled to the efforts of the sheriff’s department and should know that the deputies and the sheriff are intent on making a difference in the county,” Jones said. “I think the citizens have a right to expect the sheriff’s office to respond to every call in a timely manner. I believe every call should be treated as a priority, to be investigated as completely as possible.
“Right now, we don’t have that luxury. I believe we should.”
Jones said he wants the sheriff’s office to be proactive in stopping drug manufacturing in the county and thefts from oilfields and of farm equipment.