Bell said the epidemic of methamphetamine is gripping the county, but he’s even more concerned by the explosion in use of heroin. He said he wants to work closely with the Madison County Drug Task Force to deal with both issues, and likely provide the task force with more manpower to lighten caseloads.
Hardin, a retired longtime officer at the Anderson Police Department, said that his leadership since his career in law enforcement is what sets him apart from Mellinger and Bell. Hardin served on the Madison County Council for 16 years and is currently serving his second term as county commissioner for the Middle District. The first time he ran for sheriff was in 1990, and he said it’s always been his aspiration.
The county commissioner said his current office and terms as county councilman have given him a wealth of experience in administrative positions. He said he’s dealt with multi-million-dollar budgets at the county level and understands the needs of the people and has the financial responsibility to do the job well.
“I feel like people know me. They trust me. And I’ve got the ability,” Hardin said. “I’ve been in leadership positions and have always treated the public fairly. I believe in fair but firm.”
Hardin said he wants to bring the approach of what he calls “a loving warrior” to the office of sheriff. He said he’s heard of too many incidents of police misconduct or unfair treatment and wants to restore a sense of compassion to the department. He also said he’s disappointed in the current administration’s lack of involvement and visibility in the community. Hardin said it’s the duty of the sheriff to be a public relations person and to sell the department, and he wants to be as accessible to the public as possible.