By LeeAnn Cain / Staff Writer
The May 20 primary race for constable in Laurel County is heated across the county’s six districts.
Constables receive no salary for their services, but can be reimbursed up to $200 per month for their expenses. Constables also collect fees from their services, such as serving papers. Constables may collect a maximum of $71,000 per year in fees.
District 1 for constables covers Campground, London No. 3, London East, McHargue, Rough Creek, Stansberry, Sublimity, and Sublimity No. 2. There are two Republican candidates. The incumbent, Tim Mays, declined to respond. However, his challenger, Dennis Keith Dinsmore, 64, responded to the questionnaire provided.
Dinsmore is a hydrologist. He attended University of Louisville, University of Kentucky, and Somerset Community College. Dinsmore is a graduate of the police academy at Eastern Kentucky University. He is a Kentucky Colonel, a Mason, and a member of the London Community Church of God.
Dinsmore has a wife, Kathy, and three sons: Houston Nolan and Jonathan and Jody Dinsmore. This is Dinsmore’s first time running for any elected office, and his priority is community involvement. Dinsmore said he was willing to patrol his district.
“I want to make contact with the people,” Dinsmore said. “I want to find out their needs in order to better serve my community.”
Dinsmore also promises to investigate suspicious vehicles and people. He believes this will cut down on theft and drug activity, which will in turn reduce the crime rate in his district.
“I have 18 years of law enforcement experience. I am looking forward to working with the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office and sharing information to make our community a safer environment in which to live,” Dinsmore said.
The constables of District 2 will be patrolling the areas of Fariston, Fariston No. 2, Felts, Lily, Rough Creek No. 2, and Spring Cut. There are three Republican candidates for this district. Incumbent David A. Lanham chose not to run. Barry Johnson II did not respond to the candidate questionnaire.
The first candidate is Anthony Hill, 50, of London. Hill is self-employed and attended the University of the Cumberlands and Somerset Community College. Hill is a Kentucky Colonel and has two sons, a daughter, and a fiancee. Hill has run previously for Laurel County jailer, but he did not win.
Hill plans to assist the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office in their battle on drugs.
“While they [the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office] are doing an excellent job, there is still a need for more law enforcement,” Hill said.
Hill also believes there is a problem with thefts in empty houses, in which thieves strip wire and damage the houses. One of Hill’s goals is to combat the damage done by these thefts. Hill also said he would be present and visible in his district to deter speeding.
Hill’s challenger is Steven D. Cornn, 46, of Corbin. Cornn is the co-owner and operator of Southeast Truss, Inc. He is a graduate of Corbin High School, and studied architectural design at University of Kentucky. He also attended Eastern Kentucky University.
Cornn is a member of the London chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation. He has been married to Carol Cornn for 21 years and he has two children – Aaron and Rebecca Cornn. Cornn has never run for elected office before.
Cornn believes drugs are at the root of his community’s problems.
“Most crimes committed are a direct result of drugs,” Cornn said. “By confining patrol to my district, I feel I can be proactive in assisting the sheriff’s office and state police as well as deterring drug-related activities.”
Cornn also plans to curb traffic-related problems such as speeding through regular patrols.
“I will be available to patrol when a complaint is reported,” Cornn said. “I will be available to do residential checks when requested.”
He added he planned to patrol businesses as well as residential areas. Cornn said he would perform residential checks when requested, which he said is useful to people who are out of town or when suspicious activity is noted.
“To sum it up, I will do everything I can to make our district safer. A safe community is the responsibility of everyone who is a resident,” Cornn said.
District 3 covers Blackwater, Bush, Johnson, Lake, London No. 1, London No. 2, Maplesville, and McWhorter. Three Republicans are vying for constable in this district – Glenn Wesley Benge, Jimmy L. Lewis, and Brad Smith. Incumbent Eldon Brown did not run for re-election.
Benge, 25, of London is a self-employed landscaper. Benge graduated with an associate’s degree in criminal justice from the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. He is a member of Calvary Baptist Church, and has no political experience prior to this election.
Benge believes in routine patrols in his neighborhood, security checks at the district’s schools, and implementing night watch programs.
Lewis, 65, of London, is a co-owner at Eco-Tech and a graduate of Clay County High School. He is the vice-president of the Laurel County Fish and Game Club. He is married to Joyce Lewis, and his son is Jason Lewis. Lewis has no political experience prior to this election.
“The worst issue we have is drugs,” Lewis said. “I will serve papers and assist local law enforcement with their duties to the extent of my powers, and use common sense with the authority given to me.”
Smith, 46, of London is a forklift operator at the Wal-Mart Distribution Center and is a graduate of Laurel County High School. Smith says he has some college education, but did not specify where he attended college.
Smith was a member of the Bush Fire Department for 20 years and was the Laurel County CSEPP coordinator from April 2010 through August 2012. He was also with the Area 13 Regional Haz-Mat Team in Laurel County and is a member of the F.H.L. Pentecostal Church of God in Science Hill.
Smith is married to Angie Smith and they have two sons together. This is his first election; he has no prior political experience.
Smith is focused on patrolling his district, and wants to set up a routine patrol.
“I feel like being seen will help the community feel safer,” Smith said.
Smith also says being a public servant is one of his priorities, and stated he would like to be more involved in his community as a constable.
Smith also said he would help law enforcement fulfill their needs.
“The sheriff’s office does an excellent job, but they’re run to death and helping them is part of the duty of a constable,” Smith said.
District 4 includes Crossroads, East Bernstadt No. 1, East Bernstadt No. 2, Liberty, London No. 7, Oakley, Pittsburg, and Viva. Eight Republicans are vying for a spot to compete against Democrat Kenneth Ellington in November. Bobby Joe Smith, Clifford Caldwell, and Hank R. Vaughn did not respond to the questionnaire provided.
Edward Allen, 50, of East Bernstadt, is engaged to Shawn Spears. He has two children–daughter Kayan Allen and son Eric Allen–and stepson Jacob Spears. Allen said he would work to end the sale of illegal drugs in his district, as well as driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Allen also wants to set up neighborhood watches throughout his district.
Carl R. Cheek, 46, of London has worked in security and maintenance at EC Porter IGA for 26 years. He has a high school education, and has been a lieutenant firefighter with the Swiss Colony Fire Department for 21 years.
Cheek has two children – Jennifer Sims and Steven R. Cheek – as well as three grandchildren. Cheek ran for District 5 constable in 2006 and 2010. Cheek wants to patrol all of District 4, and focus on speeding in residential areas. Cheek hopes that by making himself visible, he will encourage speeders to slow down. Cheek also wants to assist local law enforcement and fire departments when needed.
William Hacker, 46, of East Bernstadt is a Fed-Ex contractor. He graduated from Laurel County High School and is married to Amy Hacker. They have four sons and one daughter. Hacker has no prior political experience.
“I think the two biggest issues are theft and drugs,” Hacker said. “I would like to organize some community watches and have some monthly meetings with community leaders.”
Hacker also would like to work with the sheriff’s office to get extra patrol in his area.
“People see things,” Hacker said. “If you find the right people, they can tell you where you need to look. All you have to do is watch the traffic.”
Dwayne Huff, 45, of East Bernstadt is a mechanic at Vision RV Sales. He graduated from Laurel County High School and is a member of the C.D. Ward Masonic Lodge as well as Shriners. Huff has two daughters, and this is his first political race.
Huff wants to work with local law enforcement to reduce the number of drugs in Laurel County.
“There is an issue with mobile meth labs being thrown out onto the side of the road,” Huff said. “I will work with local law enforcement to get them cleaned up as quickly as possible.”
Huff also said there are problems in his district with churches and homes being broken into, and Huff said he would like to do more patrols and work with local law enforcement to try and catch those who are doing the breaking and entering.
Justin Noe, 27, of East Bernstadt is a truck loader at FlavoRich/Borden Dairy, and is a high school graduate. He is a lieutenant at Crossroads Fire Department, a member of East Bernstadt Fire Department, and a member of the Laurel County Division of Public Safety. Noe ran for constable in the previous election, and said he came in second place.
Noe wants to increase the amount of patrols through his community, and provide routine patrols daily.
“A stronger law enforcement presence may deter any crimes such as theft and vandalism,” Noe said.
Noe also wants to reduce the amount of drugs in Laurel County.
“I plan to continue the war on drugs that Laurel County Sheriff John Root begin in 2011, and be a strong participant in the day-to-day fight against this growing problem,” Noe said.
Noe also plans on assisting other law enforcement agencies and emergency services.
“I will be an honest and dependable asset to the people,” Noe said.
District 6 covers Campbell, Cold Hill, Indedependence, Keavy, Level Green, Rockcastle, and South Laurel. Two Republican candidates – Harold Frye and incumbent Denver Mays – are competing for the position of District 6 Constable.
Frye, 56, of Corbin, was previously deputized under Laurel County Sheriff Gene Hollon and is a graduate of Lynn Camp High School. Frye ran for magistrate in 2006.
“I see the need of a working, visible, patrolling constable who will be available to assist law enforcement agencies and first responders,” Frye said.
Frye added that one of the greatest contributors to crime was illegal drug use, and said the trickle down effect from the sale and use of drugs results in home invasions and theft in his community.
“I personally understand the need for safety and peace of mind for all of my district,” Frye said.
Frye said he will patrol neighborhoods, churches, businesses, boat ramps, and parking facilities and assist local law enforcement agencies which require assistance.
“I am completely dedicated to the service and duties of the constable’s office,” Frye said.
Mays, 66, of London is the owner of Star Security and a graduate of Knox Central High School. He has four children, and is the current constable for District 6. This is Mays’ third term.
“I work every night with the local law enforcement officers in an attempt to resolve problems with drugs and burglaries,” Mays said. He added he has been involved in 250 arrests over the past year.
Mays also focuses on domestic violence, which he believes is a big issue in Laurel County.
“We spend a lot of our time on domestic violence calls,” Mays said. “I will work with local law enforcement agencies to answer domestic violence calls in a timely manner.