CHIPLEY - The 2016 Washington County Sheriff's race is already gaining momentum, with Chipley Police Chief Kevin Crews throwing his hat in the ring early as a Republican candidate.


CHIPLEY - The 2016 Washington County Sheriff's race is already gaining momentum, with Chipley Police Chief Kevin Crews throwing his hat in the ring early as a Republican candidate.



While official qualifying doesn't begin until next spring, Crews pre-qualified Monday.



Chief Crews began his career with the Chipley Police Department as a patrol officer in 1992. From there, he rose through the ranks and has now served as Chief of Police for 13 years.



Among his career highlights is the historical 2006 drug raid of the Chipley Motel. The arrest of the business' owners for their role in operating what Crews called a haven for drug users and dealers led to the Chipley Police Department becoming the first law enforcement agency in the state to seize a motel. The building was later demolished, and the city still owns the property today.



Crews is a charter member of the Washington County Drug Task Force, which was first formed in the 1990s, and he recently spearheaded developing the Tri-County Drug Task Force as a way to strengthen networking and communication between law enforcement officers in Holmes, Washington, and Jackson counties.



Crews, who specialized in narcotics investigations, has trained with various agencies, including participating in the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) apprehension of violent criminals training, and making two visits to Quantico, Va. for Drug Enforcement Agency training which focused on methamphetamine investigations. He also participated in the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's Chief Executive Seminar in 2002.



"I've done just about every job there is to do in law enforcement," said Chief Crews. "From large-scale drug investigations, to homicides and child abductions, I've worked every case imaginable."



Crews says law enforcement is about more than just making arrests, however.



"It's not just about putting people in jail," he said. "It's not just enforcing the law, but also about helping families find avenues to help loved ones who have addictions. There's not a week that goes by that someone doesn't call or stop by looking for some help."



Crews has been married to his wife Robbie for 27 years, and they have three children who have completed their education in the Washington County school system.



Crews is the first to formerly declare his candidacy for the race. Three-term incumbent Sheriff Bobby Haddock states he has not yet decided if he will seek re-election.



"That's usually a decision I make in the fall before the election," said Sheriff Haddock.



The 2016 Primary is set for Aug. 30, and the General Election will take place Nov. 8.