News From Terre Haute, Indiana

March 8, 2010

Retired ISP trooper Herb Jones jumps in sheriff’s race

Lisa Trigg
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A retired Indiana State Police trooper has entered the race as a Republican candidate for the office of Vigo County sheriff.

Herb Jones Jr., a 34-year ISP veteran, said he has some workable ideas for the sheriff’s department.

“One of the main things for a sheriff is jail maintenance and efficiency, and the safety of the prisoners,” Jones said. “The budget has got to be trimmed in some manner, with the idea of keeping all the jobs.”

Jones, who also campaigned for sheriff in 2002, said he decided to enter the upcoming primary as he realized the same issue – jail overcrowding – continues to surface.

“For me, the public needs a break,” Jones said of the issue. “I think the courts and judges and sheriff and police chiefs and the State Police all need to get together and come up with a positive solution. The public deserves a solution.”

Getting a handle on the high cost of inmate medical needs is also necessary, he said.

Jones said it is his opinion that a change of politics is necessary to get new ideas infused into the sheriff’s department. The last Republican sheriff elected in Vigo County was Ted G. Melvin in 1974. Melvin served one term, 1975 through 1978.

Jones said he believes the sheriff’s department should be run financially as a business.

“I think there are cost-saving factors,” he said. “We’ll need to find places where cuts can be made, while preserving jobs. But some positions could be shifted to better utilize personnel.”

Jones said that his campaign for sheriff in this election came after a lot of thought. When he retired, he said, he took care of some personal medical issues, and did not intend to pursue politics. But his desire to correct  problems in the county justice system has been ignited in recent months.

Having more visibility in the public is one goal for the department that Jones said he intends to promote. He said he would encourage deputies to stop in at community events, such as youth baseball games, to give the public more of a sense of protection. In the past, Jones said, he organized local law enforcement awareness days and the public was receptive to meeting and greeting police officers and talking about the issues in their neighborhoods.

Jones is a 1964 graduate of Wiley High School. He joined the Indiana State Police in 1970 after serving four years in the U.S. Air Force, including one year in the Vietnam War. In the mid-1970s, Jones earned a criminology degree from Indiana State University.

He has been married 42 years and has three adult children and eight grandchildren.

Among his community activities are membership in the Masonic Lodge, Scottish Rite, Eastern Star, Shrine, American Legion and he is a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He is past board member for the March of Dimes, and served many details as a state trooper covering large events such as the Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400, Formula 1 race and Indiana State Fair. He also actively supported Hoosier Boys State and worked on the Crime Stoppers program for the State Police.



Lisa Trigg can be reached at (812) 231-4254 or lisa.trigg@tribstar.com.