Cecil County Sheriff 2014: Sutton Files Again; Adams, School Officer Chief, Files GOP Primary Challenge

April 10, 2013

Election campaign 2014 for the always hotly-contested Cecil County Sheriff election began this week with third-time candidate Chris Sutton filing as a Republican candidate and political newcomer Scott Adams, chief of the Sheriff’s department school resource officer program, also filing in the GOP primary.

Sutton, a current Deputy in the sheriff’s department, had made no secret of his plans to run again for Sheriff, after two previous losing runs for elective office. He has held several fundraisers in the past few years to keep his candidacy, and campaign fund, alive. Sutton’s campaign website is here: http://www.suttonforsheriff.com/

Scott Adams, who holds a bachelor’s degree from Towson University, is a life-long Cecil County resident who resides in Rising Sun. He has served 20 years with the local Sheriff’s department and is currently the supervisor of that agency’s public schools “resource officer” program that places deputies in local schools to deter crime and work with young people to address problem behavior.

An interesting—and important– sidelight of the Adams candidacy is his announcement that his “chief deputy” or second in command would be retired senior deputy Gerry Widdoes. The highly respected Widdoes had 25 years of service with the department and holds a law degree from the University of Maryland. The inclusion of Widdoes on Adams’ team gives the political neophyte substantial credibility.

In announcing his candidacy, Adams told county residents that he hoped to “earn your trust and support.” And he said he would work to continue drug enforcement activities in which he was previously involved

Adams’ resume with the county Sheriff’s department includes work with the K9 unit, drug awareness and education programs, and work as a patrol corporal, sergeant and supervisor of the school resource officer unit. Among Adams’ awards is 2009 state deputy of the year by the Maryland Sheriff’s Association for contributions to the profession.

In announcing his candidacy, Adams said he would have a “smooth transition” and “cooperation of the outgoing administration” of current Sheriff Barry Janney, who has said he would not run again in 2014 unless he felt there were no “qualified” candidates running to replace him. Janney beat Chris Sutton in the past two Sheriff’s elections.

Adams’ entry into the race poses some interesting matters for voters to consider. Especially since the Newtown, Connecticut deadly attack on schoolchildren, many parents are concerned about their children’s safety in schools, and Adams has been in charge of overseeing school safety here. Cecil County has had no similar attacks on schools in recent years.

“I take children’s safety with the utmost seriousness,” Adams said. “We have to continue to learn from the unspeakable tragedies that have happened in our nation’s schools over the past several years.

Meanwhile, past GOP candidate Dan Slater has said he plans to run again, although he had not yet filed for the 2014 election. Slater put up a credible, although losing, GOP primary race against Janney and has a solid base of support.

Slater’s expected candidacy, along with that of Sutton—a former Democrat who suddenly switched his party affiliation a few months ago—and Adams’ newly announced run, means that the Republican primary for Sheriff will be crowded. Unclear at this early stage is what the Democratic side of the political aisle will produce for the 2014 Sheriff’s election.

[SEE our previous Cecil Times special report on the political outlook for the 2014 Sheriff’s race and interviews with Sutton and Slater here:

[UPDATE: Sutton, who responded Thursday to Cecil Times’ Wednesday request for comment, said that his new challenger was “not a bad guy” but questioned Adams’ range of experience.

Supervising school safety is “a very important part” of the Sheriff’s Department’s mission, Sutton said, “But it is only one piece of the puzzle; it’s not the entire package.”

Sutton said his own leadership team would bring diverse experience in crucial parts of the agency’s duties, including Kenneth Russell as his chief deputy. Russell is a veteran drug crime investigator in the Cecil County Sheriff’s department and other agencies, Sutton said, and he will bring senior leadership skills into waging the war on drugs in the county that is at the top of Sutton’s priority list.

A significant portion of the Sheriff’s Department’s budget and duties involve operating the detention center, and Sutton said Eugene Tuer would bring years of experience in that field to his leadership team. Tuer, who currently heads the criminal justice program at TESST College in Towson, formerly was superintendent of the Cecil County jail and also headed the community corrections and work release programs.

Politically, Sutton said he wasn’t worried that the Republican primary was getting crowded. “I think the more people that enter the Republican race, it’s an advantage for me,” he said. Multiple candidates would split the vote against him, Sutton pointed out, enabling him to top a crowded field of candidates.

“I’ve been out there for years,” he said, and “people know me.” Entering the race now is “really a little late,” Sutton said.]

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13 Responses to Cecil County Sheriff 2014: Sutton Files Again; Adams, School Officer Chief, Files GOP Primary Challenge

  1. roger williams on April 10, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    if adams is doing such a good job how come we have the worst drug problem in the state there is more drug use in the schools now than in the last 10 years if ur going to write an article get it right an be fair in ur comments

    • charlie on April 12, 2013 at 6:39 pm

      I think it is funny that all of the sudden people start coming out of no where to run for sheriff. I am sure that deputy Adam is a fine officer and performs his duties within the school system well. However, there is much more to being a sheriff. One must be in contact with the people of this county and have a good understanding of their needs.

      I myself have 25 years within law enforcement, retired at the rank of lieutenant. I have worked within several counties of this state. And I am proud to say that I worked for the Cecil County Sheriffs Department under Jack Dewitt before moving…. The sheriffs department was a close group then, unlike now when it has become a retirement home for high level former state employees.

      I have and will support Chris Sutton. He has a plan to bring pride back into the sheriffs department and a goal to improve the safety of
      all citizens. Chris Sutton is the peoples sheriff, he is your sheriff.

  2. Randy spencer on April 10, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    I think this county is in need of a real change! It starts here. The current elected officer has not shown much interest in fighting crime, has no computer on his desk. He stops investigations when they get to a certain point so he don’t have to do all the follow up paper work!

    My office was broke into. I got my own tools back and his first response was you know how much paper work you created! I am not sure how he was elected, first he was state police and out on I believe some sort of disability and now elected! How can we support some one who is suppose to be a leader and plays the system to help him self. I would not support any one that Mr.Janney endorses. This county needs a fresh start!

  3. Kim Milburn on April 10, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    I get the feeling from this article that the writer is trying to persuade me in a particular direction. It didn’t feel informative as to the candidates that are running, rather more like ‘talking up’ Adams. Perhaps the headline should have been ‘Adams Announces Candidacy’.

  4. Too Much Government on April 11, 2013 at 8:28 am

    Cecil Times provides facts, it’s up to each individual to make your choice. I believe the above comments are somewhat exagerated and a real effort to make Chris Sutton something he is not. Read between your lines – it’s quite obvious.

  5. Jeff Mackenzie on April 11, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    All I ask is, talk to the people that know. The people who work there. No further comment.

  6. Too Much Government on April 12, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Sutton may talk the talk but certainly doesn’t walk the walk.

  7. Mike R on April 12, 2013 at 11:35 am

    We well know that Sutton is another Smigiel puppet. Let him prove otherwise.

    • chris sutton on April 13, 2013 at 7:00 pm

      Mike R I assure I am not a Smigel puppet or anyone’ puppet. I will work for the people and work in their best interest.

      I still can’t beleive that Too much government is allowed to post on a public site and give their name.

  8. Stupid Intolerant on April 16, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    May I point out the fact that Mr.Sutton proudly proclaimed he would stand between your constitutional rights and state or federal agencies including and especially your 2nd amendment right.I don’t know where Mr.Adams,Mr.Slater,orMr.Dewitt stand on this issue but if they don’t stand with Mr.Sutton and every person at that meeting(as Sheriff Janney refused to)then they are nonstarters!

  9. Mike Doss on June 10, 2013 at 7:38 am

    I have been a resident of Cecil County most of my life. I worked under several Sheriff’s during my time(s) at CCSO. I was hired under Jack DeWitt, worked under Kennedy, Kilough and left soon after Janney was elected on a work related injury.

    What everyone has to remember is that there will be no 1 candidate that will bring “everything” that “everybody” wants to the table. You have to sort through what you want in a Sheriff vs. what is being offered in a potential candidate and make the best choice.

    The other things that are important to you hopefully will be valued by the elected Sheriff and can be conveyed by way of discussions and interaction with the people who elected them to office. Hopefully the Sheriff will be open to dialogue and input from the people since that’s who he/she actually works for and not themselves.

    One thing’s for certain though and that is the current Sheriff is doing nor has done ANYTHING for this county and its citizens but collect a paycheck and additional retirement package at the taxpayers expense. I would much rather see this position filled by someone from the “inside” who knows the issues and problems on the front lines and will support the laws and constitution then from another retired “officer” that’s just looking for a 2nd income to benefit his state retirement package!!

    We the voters make the decisions of what we want at the polls, not the politicians!! VOTE!!!!

  10. Edward Taylor on May 3, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    It’s become very clear what Cecil County wants as a Sheriff. He must know the internal operations. He must care for the public and have the respect of his deputy’s. Mike Doss said it clear. A Sheriff must keep an open dialogue with the citizens of Cecil County. There’s no doubt that Chris Sutton fit’s the bill as our next Sheriff.

  11. Vincent F. Pfeiffer Jr. on June 14, 2014 at 8:10 am

    I am a resident of an often overlooked part of Cecil County. Though sparsely populated, crime in our are is no stranger to us. That is the area below the Chesapeake City Bridge. White Crystal Beach is a high crime area with drugs and break-ins.

    Based on the sheriff team break down, that issue alone uses all the available resources for this entire area for the one deputy assigned to patrol an area nearly as large as the rest of the county. That leaves the rest of us with little or no protection. In the few times I needed assistance, a Maryland State Police officer finally responded to my needs.

    There are mainly two issues that really need to be addressed. First, how will my sheriff protect me and my 2nd Amendment Rights. Without a doubt, given the nature of this state government, and certainly in the national forum, someone needs to stand in the way of those who seek to remove those rights from us.

    Secondly, the division of labor needs to be totally reevaluated in order to provide a more balance coverage throughout the county at any given time. I have spoken with deputies who understand this and have made mention of the current methods of assigning personnel throughout the county as being ineffective and wasteful of time and resources. I have witnessed the results of that first hand.

    As a life long Republican, I can appreciate the level of apprehension for those who switch parties, because I too have those apprehensions. I also know of a number of Democrat to Republican switchers, President Reagan, for one, who have made the switch because of principle and values.

    I believe Chris Sutton cares about the Sheriffs office, and his fellow deputies. I believe he will stand for the citizens of this county, not only to protect and defend them from crime and the influence of drugs, but also the rights of Americans as their last line of defense against an ever encroaching government disarming its citizens.

    Chris Sutton gets my vote: Please support Chris Sutton For Sheriff, 2014

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