Washington Co. sheriff makes re-election bid official

Becky Campbell • Apr 29, 2014 at 4:40 PM

Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal announced Tuesday his re-election bid to seek a third term in office.

Graybeal said his campaign will focus on keeping the community growing and ensuring it’s the safest place to live in Tennessee. He said the fact that Washington County residents have kept him in office speaks to the job his officers perform.

“I think it speaks to the professionalism of the department and what we’ve been able to accomplish for the people of Washington County,” he said. “One of the things I’m proud of is the men and women I’ve served with in Washington County and the excellent law enforcement they provide for the citizens.”

He noted that one of the department’s accomplishments this year was an in-depth security study with the county school system.

“We remain committed to the safety and well being of our children in the schools,” he said.

Also, the department is moving to an electronic reporting system and officers now carry smart technology that allows them to write a report on a handheld electronic device and submit it to their supervisor immediately.

“What we want to do is keep rolling with our technology. We have the PDA, we have a interdiction unit for drug enforcement, we have four new k9s,” he said. “We’re hoping with all the technology we have, we’ll keep growing. That’s what you have to do — keep growing and enhancing the services you provide.”

Graybeal, 64, has been sheriff since January 2003. He was appointed to finish then-Sheriff Fred Phillips’ four-year term who resigned to take a state position. He ran for election in the August 2004 general election, beating two challengers in the process. He was re-elected in 2006, knocking off one challenger, and 2010 in an unopposed campaign.

“I just love working with the people in Washington County,” Graybeal said in November when he picked up his qualifying petition. “I’ve never changed jobs. I’ve been with the department since 1980. You don’t leave people that have supported you. They are a part of my life. This is where I want to be and this is what I want to do.”

Once again, Graybeal will face a challenger in this election.

Craig Ford, Jonesborough’s town operations manager will try to uproot Graybeal for the county’s top law enforcement spot.

Ford picked up qualifying paperwork Nov. 22 but has not returned to the election office, but has not officially announced his candidacy.

Graybeal served in the United States Army as sergeant in the Infantry Division in 1969 and 1970 during the Vietnam War. He received the Vietnam Service medal with two Bronze Service Stars, the National Defense Service medal, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Army Commendation medal, the Sharpshooter medal and the Good Conduct medal.

He graduated from the Northwestern University Police Staff and Command School, the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy, Police Executive Development, FBI Law Enforcement Instructor Development and attended numerous other professional training forums and certifications.

Graybeal is a Scottish Rite 32-Degree Mason, serves on the Board of Directors for Washington County/Johnson City 911, the Tennessee Sheriff’s Association and the Appalachian Fair, U. S. Attorney General’s Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council and is a member of Jonesborough Kiwanis Club.

He and his wife, Connie have been married 45 years and have two children and five grandchildren.

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