Jefferson County Sheriff Mark Pettway has announced he’s running for reelection to a second term.
Speaking Sunday to a room of supporters and followed up by a band playing a campaign song with the chorus, “If he did it before, he can do it again,” Pettway talked about his accomplishments during his first term and how he would continue with the same priorities if he won reelection.
Among those priorities is to continue his work and collaborations with local nonprofits to lower crime by providing inmates with training, education and mentorship to help them get jobs rather than returning to crime. He said avoiding a life of crime also is the idea behind some community work he’s undertaken with children and youths, such as providing books to kids and reading to students. Books, he said, broaden a child’s mind and show them different ways of living.
“A book is more powerful than a bullet,” Pettway said.
Pettway also stressed the need to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community. He spoke about providing security at vaccination sites and working with partners to hold food drives during the pandemic, for instance. He also mentioned participation with prayer groups and cooperation between the Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office, such as bringing a diversion center to Jefferson County.
“It’s going to take a village,” he said. “It’s going to take everyone in the community to take care of what’s going on in the community.’’
Two others have filed paperwork with the Democratic Party to run for sheriff: Wilson “Hale Yes” Hale and Kareem Easley.
Hale ran for sheriff four years ago but lost in a runoff to Pettway. He serviced in the U.S. Army and has been a State Trooper.
Easley worked in the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office before becoming a state probation officer, working as an investigator with Regions Bank in Birmingham and working in the Birmingham Police Department.
Pettway was the first black sheriff elected in Jefferson County, in 2018. He worked with the Fairfield Police Department and the Internal Revenue Service Task Force before joining the county Sheriff’s Office in 1999.