VIDEO: Republican primary for DeKalb County Sheriff takes shape

VIDEO: Republican primary for DeKalb County Sheriff takes shape

PHOTO: Chief Deputy Michael Edmondson announced his run for Sheriff this morning at the DeKalb County Republican Breakfast Club, and already declared candidate, Valley Head Police Chief Nick Welden addresses the crowd. (Tyler Pruett | Southern Torch)

By Tyler Pruett, Managing Editor

The crowd this morning at the meeting of the DeKalb County Republican Breakfast Club was the largest in it's history, requiring a room to be opened for overflow. (Tyler Pruett | Southern Torch)

FORT PAYNE, Ala. — (Full Video at the Bottom) According to long-time DeKalb County Republican Lester Black (also candidate for County Commission), this morning's meeting of the Republican Breakfast Club displayed the largest attendance in the group's history, with attendees lined up around the walls, and an adjoining room being opened for additional seating. Approximately 150 citizens and elected officials were present, both from Cherokee and DeKalb counties.

Several local candidates gave much anticipated campaign announcement speeches, including Attorney Andrew Hairston and Deputy District Attorney Scott Lloyd, who are both seeking the Republican nomination to run for Circuit Judge Place 2, a seat being vacated by Judge Randall Cole. Attorney Jeff McCurdy, who announced at an earlier meeting, is also running for the seat.

After Hairston's announcement, DeKalb County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Michael Edmondson announced his candidacy for Sheriff, after long-time Sheriff Jimmy Harris announced on Thursday that he would not be seeking reelection, due to "health problems."

Chief Deputy Michael Edmondson announces his candidacy for DeKalb County Sheriff. (Tyler Pruett | Southern Torch)

Edmondson (Comments begin at 28:00) said in the meeting: "I'd like to announce my candidacy for DeKalb County Sheriff this morning, I graduated from Crossville High School in 1998, I went to  Gadsden State Community College and got my degree in Criminal Justice, a two year degree. For my intern, I went to work for the Sheriff's Office. I started there and I rode, got my hours in. And I was able to be hired in the jail."

"I worked in the jail for about a year and a half. Then I was promoted to a Deputy Sheriff, I went to the police academy. After that I worked there several years, and I was promoted to sergeant, after Sergeant I was promoted to captain, and then moved my way up to Chief Deputy."

"Today I have with me my wife Jody, and we have three beautiful children, that we love so dearly. I've got a lot of friends that are with me today, and I appreciate them. I would like to ask for your support in this run. It's tough, and like I said I'm not a lengthy speaker, I'm not an attorney, I didn't get all those years in speech class," said Edmondson.

"I would appreciate your support, and if there is anything.... any kind of questions you have of me, feel free to get in touch with me later on, and I'll lay my steps out of things that I plan on doing at the office, and things that I think this county needs to move forward. I will put my cell phone number out for anybody to be able to give me a call, and get in touch with me at any time. Now, my phone stays on 24/7, and my wife can tell you it rings most of the time," said Edmondson.

"Again, I'd like to ask for your support, and thank you, each and every one of you," concluded Edmondson.

Candidate for Sheriff Nick Welden addresses the crowd. (Tyler Pruett | Southern Torch)

At the end of the meeting, already declared candidates were asked to address the group. One of those candidates, was Valley Head Police Chief Nick Welden, who announced his campaign at June's meeting.

(Comments begin at 57:25) "I just wanted to tell a little story, and it won't take long," began Welden. "Several years ago, I was asked to do a job, when I was still a trooper. And the troop commander calls me late one night and said, 'I need you to do something, I need you to get in your truck, and your personal clothes, and you to be in a certain location, and take it from there.'"

"So I did, not knowing what was in store," said Welden. "I went and I met with the FBI, the ATF, and several others. I was asked to do a traffic stop, and out of all the people that could be picked, in the entire county, I was asked to do one specific traffic stop. It would be the known to man most dangerous stop that would be made, knowing they were the most armed and dangerous there was at this time."

"I was asked to do it to perfection, because it would break from there into multi-state search warrants and seizures, and there was a lot of people's lives at risk. They were in the process of a bombing attempt, that a lot of people don't know about to this day," he said.

"I was asked to make that stop the next morning. It was pouring down rain, and I'd had about two hours of sleep. It was pouring down rain, and if you are in law enforcement, there is two things you don't do, you try not to get wet, and you definitely don't stop a car in the rain," said Welden.

"Knowing that it was going to take everything within me, because it all depended on what happened. And the ATF and FBI said, 'we got your back.' They were staggered down the road, and that car passed every car going down the road, and none of them pulled out in the rain after it. I was the last stop it had to come by, before it went and picked up a large amount of explosives," explained Welden.

"Well, I pulled that car over; knowing exactly what was in that car, and exactly what their intentions were, and they were armed and everything, in the pouring down rain. And (the agents) had said, 'you'll have to make this look like an ordinary, routine stop, handle it to a T or they will kill you.' So, I did my thing. Advised the driver he was speeding, and I retrieved the driver of that vehicle and moved him to safety, and we took those felons down that were armed. And it opened the door for a search warrant in multiple states, and stopped a bombing from taking place in Birmingham," said Welden.

"The reason I say that, is I want everybody to know what I am and where a I stand. Professionalism sets the pace for an organization. And I was asked from the outside, to come in, and do a job that hundreds of people could have possibly done, but I was hand-picked for that job," said Welden.

"I'm just going to get to the meat and potatoes of it, because that's how I shoot. There is no sense in employees selling drugs, there is no sense in a big sex-filled scandal that goes on that everybody in the country knows about. Professionalism was cut off, and it's proven today, that there is no professionalism just over the road (Welden then motioned towards the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office)," continued Welden.

"And I'm running for Sheriff, because I just told you a story when I was requested to come in and do something to perfection to take care of things, and it was handled accordingly and it was handled professionally. And I ask today for your support to continue to become the next Sheriff of DeKalb County and I'd appreciate your prayers, thoughts, and most of all, considering what I just told you, that professionalism can be replaced, sometimes you just got to bring someone in from the outside, " concluded Welden.

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