Editor’s Note: This is part of a weekly series of candidate profiles leading up to the March 1 election.
Ivan Linebaugh spent 25 years as a law enforcement officer and believes that if elected sheriff in March, he can lead by example and implement Christian values.
He’s running against incumbent Sheriff Travis E. Neeley and former Deputy Jim Jackson. All three were considered for the sheriff’s position in 2011 when former Sheriff Dan Douget, Linebaugh’s mentor, retired for health reasons. The Commissioners Court selected Neeley.
At that time, Linebaugh took a break from police work and began doing investigations for a transportation company. He believes the break allowed him time to reflect and reset his priorities.
“I gave my life to God, and it’s been awesome,” said Linebaugh, an active member of Sand Prairie Church. “[Sheriff Douget] was like a father to me. He’s at the top of my list as far as integrity. He was honest and a good Christian. That’s what I want to bring to the office.”
Although Linebaugh does not make negative comments about Neeley’s leadership, he said he believes more could be done in terms of implementing partnerships with other law enforcement agencies locally and in surrounding counties. He also notes that there is a lot of turnover in the sheriff’s department, which “means there’s a problem somewhere.”
“I want the members of the sheriff’s department to become part of the community,” he said. “The community needs to know an officer as a person. It would improve relationships. [Douget] encouraged us to stop and talk to people. I’m very passionate about law enforcement, and I’m very passionate about this community. I wasn’t raised here, but this is my home.”
The Robertson County native and his wife Becky have six children and 14 grandchildren.
“I want the citizens of Madison County to feel safe here and want to raise their families here,” Linebaugh said. “We need to enforce the 10 commandments. Man’s law comes behind that. If you keep God first in your life, everything else comes behind that.”
He said he rededicated his life to Christ in 2010.
“Once you give your life to God, you realize how good things are and you want everyone to have that,” he said.
Linebaugh stressed the importance of ensuring that a sheriff’s job is more than just a desk job from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“The sheriff can sometimes lose touch with reality,” he said. “I want to be the kind of sheriff who knows what the guys are doing. I want to be a sheriff that people can talk to, not someone who sits behind a desk.”
Election Day is March 1.
Early voting will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 16-26 at the Madison County Courthouse, 101 West Main Street, Madisonville (Room 108) and at North Zulch Public School, 11390 Fifth Street, North Zulch.
On Election Day – March 1 – polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the following locations:
Vote Center One: Midway Community Center, 5612 School Loop, Midway
Vote Center Two: Elwood Baptist Church, 14527 OSR, Midway
Vote Center Three: Courthouse Room 108, 101 West Main Street, Madisonville
Vote Center Four: North Zulch School: 11390 Fifth Street, North Zulch
Vote Center Five: Sand Prairie Baptist Church, 12652 FM 1452 West, Normangee
Vote Center Six: Madison County Annex, Room 122, 103 West Trinity Street, Madisonville