Editor’s Note: This is part of a weekly series of candidate profiles leading up to the March 1 election.
Madison County’s current sheriff is proud of the department he’s built – and hopes to continue the progress.
Travis Neeley, 64, has been the county’s top cop since 2011, but he previously served in the same capacity from 1989 to 1997. During the interim period he worked alongside more than 100 other American officers to establish a police force, jails, guidelines and procedures in Kosovo, Bosnia and Afghanistan.
He’s most proud, however, of what he’s accomplished right here in Madison County.
“We’ve upgraded the jail and brought it into full compliance with state standards,” he said. “We’ve increased our patrol. Our reportable crimes were down this year. We’ve been successful; we have a good, professional agency.”
Neeley is facing James S. Jim Jackson and Ivan W. Linebaugh for the sheriff’s post. Early voting begins Feb. 16, and the voter registration deadline is Feb. 1. Election Day is March 1.
Neeley said his 22 years of experience as a law enforcement officer qualify him for the job.
“I’ve had an interest in police work since I was a kid,” he said. “I started doing this back when there were no Tasers, no computers and no cell phones.”
Although he’s worked to maintain good relationships with other local departments, helped upgrade the radio system and authorized computers for patrol cars and body cameras for all officers, Neeley is most proud of the department’s high ethical standards.
“If you don’t maintain those high standards, you wind up in the bottom of a bucket,” he said. “I want to continue to build on our progress to provide the best police service to the community. About 15 to 20 percent of my job is law-enforcement. The rest is just helping people.”
Other candidates on the March 1 ballot include:
Karen M. Lane – tax-assessor-collector
Richard B. (Ricky) Driskell and Russell W. Smith – Precinct 1 commissioner
Carl Lynn Cannon – Precinct 3 commissioner
James L. Weathers – Precinct 1 constable
Charles D. Turner – Precinct 2 constable
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