PHOTO: Centre Police Chief Kirk Blankenship and his family. Blankenship will be challenging Cherokee County Sheriff Jeff Shaver in the June 2018 Republican Primary. (Contributed Photo)
By Staff Reports
CENTRE, Ala. — Announced right before Christmas, Centre Police Chief Kirk Blankenship will be challenging Cherokee County Sheriff Jeff Shaver in 2018.
Sheriff Shaver switched to the GOP shortly after the election of Donald Trump, meaning the race will be decided during the Republican Primary in June of this year. Blankenship filed qualifying paperwork with the Cherokee County Republican Party a little over two weeks ago.
Blankenship will be holding a campaign kick-off reception on February 6, 2018 at 5:30 pm at the Cherokee County Activities building. The Southern Torch will be providing live video coverage of this event.
To learn more about Blankenship's campaign, visit his Facebook page by clicking here.
Blankenship released the following statement after announcing his campaign:
"Centre Police Chief Kirk Blankenship announced in December that he will be asking for your vote in the 2018 Sheriff’s election for Cherokee County. Blankenship has over 17 years experience as a dedicated law enforcement officer, with more than half of those years in supervising positions.
Blankenship started his career back in 2000 when the Cedar Bluff Police Dept hired him and sent him through the Northeast Alabama Police Academy at Jacksonville State University. Blankenship was then hired by Sheriff Roy Wynn in 2001 as a patrol deputy at the Cherokee County Sheriffs Dept. Then in 2007 he was promoted to Deputy Corporal. He also worked as a narcotic agent during his time with the Cherokee County Sheriffs Dept. In 2011 The Centre City Council and Mayor voted unanimously to hire Blankenship as the Chief for the Centre Police Dept.
“I have talked about this with God and my family, and after much prayer I have decided that the next move in my career should be running for Sheriff of our great county.”
Blankenship has been instrumental in bringing positive changes to the Centre Police Dept. He has also been pro-active in building the Centre PD to meet the ever-changing needs in law enforcement by implementing a reserve program for the Centre PD; through grants/funds he was able to assist the city in purchasing a new building to house the Centre Police Department. He also worked diligently in obtaining a K-9 officer for the first time in Centre PD history. Blankenship also formed a narcotic unit at Centre PD to help combat the growing drug problem. Recently for the first time, the Centre PD hosted a Citizen’s Academy for the public to attend where he and other officers taught classes.
Blankenship holds an executive level certification through the Alabama Chief of Police Association. He is also a certified instructor for Below 100 which allows him to educate other law enforcement officers on the dangers of patrolling. He is also an FTO (field training officer) instructor. During the first year of the Major Crimes Unit Blankenship served as chairman and still serves as an active board member. He also serves as a member of the alcohol board for the city of Centre.
“I feel Cherokee County has a multitude of problems right now that need to be faced head on, drugs being one of them, I am ready and willing to combat those problems” Blankenship said.
Blankenship has lived in the Gaylesville community since he was 8 years old. He is a graduate of Gaylesville High school. He is married to Paige Laney Blankenship who is a life long resident of Cherokee Co. Blankenship and his wife have 5 beautiful children, 1 whom is currently a public servant/first responder in Cherokee Co. All of their children have attended and still attend school in Cherokee County.
Blankenship says: “I am invested in this county not only to make it better for my kids and grand kids but to make it better for all of the citizens, their children and their children’s children.”
Blankenship has always been an active participate in our community. He is a former volunteer fireman and a former member of the Cherokee County Rescue Squad. Blankenship and his wife tirelessly work in our communities to help with citizens needs from clothing to helping fight hunger.
“On June 5, 2018 I graciously ask for your vote to serve you as the next Sheriff of Cherokee County,” said Blankenship.
Blankenship would like to invite everyone to attend his campaign kick-off reception on February 6, 2018 at 5:30pm at the Cherokee County Activities building.
God Bless, Matthew 5:9"