Patten an unlikely pick, but deserving of vote

Published 12:01 am Sunday, August 2, 2015

Our selection for the best sheriff’s candidate in Tuesday’s Democratic primary may surprise you.

By all accounts, Travis Patten appears to be a long shot for several reasons; most notably, he’s the youngest of the three candidates, and he has fewer years of law enforcement experience than his opponents.

After spending time with Patten and learning of his character, communication skills and leadership abilities, we feel confident that he would serve the county well as its top lawman.

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Patten’s youth is slightly deceiving. He’s spent time in the military, where a man grows up more quickly than one might first realize, as well as working with the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, the Natchez-Adams County Metro Narcotics Task Force and the Natchez Police Department. He knows the law enforcement needs of the community.

Interestingly, Patten is approximately the same age that longtime county sheriff Billy Ferrell was when he was first elected in the late 1950s.

Patten’s financial acumen is better than average, having worked in the local mortgage industry where the math must be correct and Ts must be crossed and Is must be dotted.

Most notably for taxpayers, Patten has pledged to cut out wasteful spending.

In recent years the sheriff’s budget has consistently grown, despite a drop in population. The sheriff’s bloated budget has included frivolous use of taxpayer money to buy the sheriff a special vehicle and outfit it with all sorts of special equipment that is better and nicer than what was given to deputies who are far more in the line of fire. In addition, the sheriff’s office has inflated its payroll by employing several additional and previously unnecessary office personnel when more deputies are needed on the streets.

Voters must ask themselves, do I feel safer with a particular candidate leading the team of sheriff’s deputies. For us, Patten hits the mark on both the kind of experience that matters and the moral and fiscal integrity that our county needs and deserved.