Drew County Sheriff Mark Gober has announced his candidacy for re-election to a ninth term.

“During the past 17 years, I have worked closely with county, local, and state officials in the prevention and deterrence of crime,” Gober said in a news release announcing he re-election bid. “I have enjoyed meeting many citizens of this county while performing my duties as Drew County Sheriff and look forward to the many challenges that I face daily in this office.”

During his time in office, Gober graduated from the Arkansas Leader Session conducted by the F.B.I. and has also served the elected position of representative for the Arkansas Sheriffs Association as the Southeast Quadrant Leader.

Gober was appointed by Governor Asa Hutchinson in 2016 to the Arkansas Supreme Court’s Committee on Security and Emergency Preparedness. The purpose of the committee is to work with the director of Security Emergency Preparedness to ensure the safety of those who appear for court, judges, and their staff, and for all other employees and members of the public who conduct business in courthouses throughout Arkansas.

Gober served on the Board of Directors for Options, a non-profit organization that serves victims of domestic violence and sexual assaults.

“This is a great organization and Drew County is blessed to have such an organization serving the citizens of Drew County and all of southeast Arkansas,” Gober said. “The director of Options and the staff are to be congratulated for their commitment and dedication to helping the victims of domestic violence. This is a first-class organization.”

Gober said he will “continue working on the many goals and visions that we have for improving” the county.

“I ask that you allow me to continue my work to ensure that Drew County is a safe place to live and raise families,” he said. “As Sheriff, I require that citizens be treated in a respectful and professional manner. As many of you have found out, I serve the people of this county and welcome your visits to our office.”

Gober was instrumental in acquiring the Drew County Mobile Command Center. The command center is fully equipped with communication and emergency equipment, which is used in emergency situations as an operations center. The unit is not only for the use of Drew County and Monticello, but is also available to all law enforcement in the Tenth Judicial District, according to Gober.

Gober also recommended and assisted in the implementation of the security system for the Drew County courts and courthouse. The system provides panic alarms for the courtroom and provides security cameras for the entire courthouse. These cameras are monitored in the Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff Gober has been outspoken about the need for additional deputies to keep citizens and their property safe. By having a good working relationship with the Drew County Quorum Court, Gober was able to increase the deputy positions from six to 10 patrol deputies. One of the deputies is assigned to Drew Central School as a school resource officer, year round. The increase cuts down on response time, increases the area patrolled by deputies, and improves officer safety.

Gober was also able to substantially increase the salaries within the department, with the approval of the quorum court.

“This salary increase was needed not only because it was the right thing to do, but it will help maintain our current deputies and will help in the retention rate,” Gober said.

Since taking office in January of 2005, over $120,000 in law enforcement grants have been applied for and received. These grants have been utilized for the purchase and outfitting of the Drew County Mobile Command Center, protective vests, digital radios and communications equipment, surveillance equipment, and vehicles.

Another concern of Gober’s is the negative impact that illegal dumping and littering has on the county. He has asked local judges to order individuals cited for littering and some misdemeanor offenses to be assigned to the “Sheriff’s Litter Crew,” which has picked up trash and litter in the county and city.

During the past 17 years of serving the citizens of Drew County, Sheriff Gober says he has enjoyed meeting with and speaking to many people, organizations, committees, and church groups. Speaking to youth has always been a highlight, whether at a school, church, or just in his everyday setting.

Prior to being elected as sheriff, Gober, 62, was employed by the Arkansas Department of Corrections for over 11 1/2 half years at the Delta Regional Correctional and Jail Facility in Dermott. Gober says that he knows the concerns of families and in order to improve on the future, we must improve on the day to day positive contacts with the citizens.