Chief Deputy Bart Baker discusses campaign to be Greenbrier County’s next Sheriff

By Matthew Young, RealWV

“Almost 22 years of my life have been with the Sheriff’s Department. I’ve raised my kids as a Sheriff’s Deputy, and I built my home as a Sheriff’s Deputy. I love the people of Greenbrier County. I want to continue to grow the department, and just make it better.”

That’s how Bart Baker explained his desire to be Greenbrier County’s next Sheriff. One of three Republican candidates currently campaigning to succeed Bruce Sloan, Greenbrier County’s current term-limited sheriff, Baker has served as the department’s chief deputy since December.

“I’ve been serving with the Sheriff’s Department since 2002,” Baker said, while speaking with RealWV Monday evening. “Prior to that I worked in corrections after eight years in the United States Air Force. I’ve been in law enforcement my entire adult life.”

“When I came into the department, we weren’t growing,” Baker continued. “It was very much just keeping the status quo. But in the last 16-to-18-years we started to grow. We got better equipment and better training. We grew to a staff of 31 about 14-years-ago. Of course we still have some openings, but I’ve seen the department grow so much to the point where we serve the county much better than what we had been able to.”

“I would certainly like to see it keep going in a positive direction,” Baker added.

A native of Greenbrier County, Baker served as a security policeman in the U.S. Air Force before joining the West Virginia Department of Corrections in 1998. He began his career with the Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Department as a deputy, before ultimately attaining the rank of Lieutenant. Baker has served the department in a supervisory-role since 2012.

“I was born and raised in Ronceverte,” Baker said. “I graduated from Greenbrier East High School the end of May in 1990, and joined the Air Force in August. [After] eight years, I loved the Air Force, but I had a child who was coming up on school age, and I missed home. I lived in a lot of places, and they were beautiful, but there’s nothing like Greenbrier County.”

If elected, Baker plans to follow the course set by current Sheriff Bruce Sloan, noting that, “His leadership is outstanding, and he sets the perfect example.”

While Baker both appreciates and respects his time serving under Sloan, there is one area he wants to see the department increase its focus on. 

“I think we need to do more for drug prevention in the schools,” Baker said. “That would be one of the biggest changes I’d make – I’d work closely with the Board of Education to introduce more drug awareness and education.”

“I think that from day one when the kids enter pre-K, all the way until they walk across the stage at high school graduation, we should be doing everything we can to prevent them from using drugs and alcohol,” Baker added. “I think we’re kind of lacking in that.”

Having spent the last 12 years as a supervisor, Baker has been involved in all aspects of the department’s operations, including training, community outreach, prisoner transport, mental hygiene, the court system, and tax collection. 

“I’ve been a firearms instructor, and an instructor for SWAT and response to domestic violence,” Baker explained. “I helped at the state level with writing the protocols to respond to domestic violence with children present, and I work closely with CPS and the Family Refuge Center.”

“I’m a huge training guy,” Baker added. “I think most of the problems you see in law enforcement across the country is lack of training. One of the things that I believe is that if a young deputy shows a passion for some aspect of the job – whether it be crime scene evidence collections, investigations, or SWAT tactics – then you foster that, and send them to get the good training so they can serve the county so much better.”

The one caveat he puts on training, Baker said, is that he expects his deputies to return to the department and share what they’ve learned with their colleagues. 

“That’s worked out very well,” Baker says. “Not just for the Sheriff’s Department. We cooperate with the City PD’s and the State Police, and that absolutely has to happen.”

To learn more about Bart Baker’s campaign for Greenbrier County Sheriff, visit his Facebook page at Bart Baker For Sheriff. Baker will also be appearing at the GFWC WV Rupert Women’s Club Meet the Candidates event on April 15 at 6 p.m. at the Rupert Community Building. 

With no Democratic or Independent candidates challenging for the Office of Sheriff, the winner of the Republican Primary will be the presumptive winner of November’s General Election. Primary Election Day is Tuesday, May 14. Voters must be registered independent or with a particular party to vote in that party’s primary.

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