Mankins and Riggs compete to be Pleasants County Sheriff

Published: Oct. 30, 2020 at 7:34 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 31, 2020 at 4:42 PM EDT
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ST MARYS, W.Va. (WTAP) - There are dozens of campaign signs asking residents to elect a new Pleasants County Sheriff scattered along the road to St Marys. They belong to Democrat Chuck Mankins and Republican John Riggs, the two men running to be sheriff.

Mankins and Riggs have similar platforms and similar, amicable attitudes.

Both hope to bring the sheriff’s department into schools with the addition of a school resource officer and a mentorship program for students.

They’re also both hoping to get deputies more training.

Mankins even said he wants to see them get better pay in the hopes of retaining well-trained officers.

He and Riggs are also hoping to take on what they call a “growing drug problem” in Pleasants County.

“Pleasants County has been pretty fortunate in the area of illegal and illicit drugs, but it’s reared its ugly head here and we need to be more aggressive in dealing with that,” said Mankins.

“I think our main thing is, is to make the drugs hard to get. I want people that are dabbling, that are dealing, that are setting up a shop in St Marys and peddling, I want them out,” said Riggs.

As similar as their goals may be, Mankins says their backgrounds set them apart. He says his experience in law enforcement makes him more qualified to be sheriff.

“My opponent, who is a good person, doesn’t have any experience in law enforcement. So, he’s going to be a novice when he comes in,” said Mankins. “The Sheriff needs to be more than the administrator and sheriff, he’s really a glorified deputy and has to step in and fill in. I can step in immediately and don’t have to go through two or three years of training before I know what a police officer is supposed to do,” said Mankins.

But Riggs argues being a sheriff is much more than being a cop, and he says he’s plenty qualified.

“I don’t see the law enforcement being a problem. Yes, I’ll probably write some tickets, and yes I’ll probably oversee some investigations. But, my principle role as sheriff is being the chief law enforcement officer of the county and that’s doing other things as well. It’s seeing that the collection of taxes is done efficiently and effectively. It’s managing all the people that do these said jobs.”

As a military man, Riggs has managed more than a thousand people at once. And as a business owner, he says he has properly managed large sums of money. He’s also confident that he can quickly learn any law enforcement skills he would need to pick up.

Mankins has decades of experience in law enforcement, serving as a military police officer as a young man and later working as a West Virginia State Police officer. In the state police, he reached the rank of first sergeant.

Election Day is November 3.

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