To be eligible, he needs 1,781 signatures, which is five percent of Catoosa’s registered voters.
Cruise, a 15-year veteran of the police department, wants to be placed on the ballot as an independent.
“I have listened to all the candidates’ ideas and I share some of the same ideas for the future of the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office,” Cruise said. “I have a passion for law enforcement and for the people who are victims of crime.”
The current five candidates — Gary Sisk, Larry Black, Ben Scott, Mike Helton and Jeff Holcomb — are running as Republicans. There are no Democrats running, meaning the new sheriff would be decided in the July 31 primary, or in a runoff if needed.
But if Cruise gets on the ballot, the county will have to wait an additional three months to officially find out who the successor will be to long-time sheriff Phil Summers, who isn’t seeking re-election after 22 years at the helm.
“It is a historical event in Catoosa County, and I would be honored to continue the legacy of sheriff Phil Summers by leading this department into the future of law enforcement,” Cruise said.
Cruise said he has received extensive training that includes, but is not limited to, forfeiture, surveillance, gang investigations, and clandestine labs.
He is a lieutenant with the Fort Oglethorpe Police Department and serves as a watch commander with the department.
“I have learned very much from the seasoned investigators that I have worked with as well as our present chief of police,” Cruise said. “I feel that my self-motivation, coupled with my experience, will allow me to offer a great deal to the Sheriff’s Office.”
Cruise said his plans for the office would include doing more with the already “excellent” traffic unit, such as implementing a drug interdiction team on the interstate and main roads throughout the county.
Other plans include re-evaluating the departmental structure to make it more efficient and effective.
“I also feel that the citizens of Catoosa County are our most valuable resource, and keeping them informed and involved are key aspects in solving crimes,” he said.
Most importantly, Cruise says, he is a public servant and not a politician.
“The sheriff is the highest and most honored position in law enforcement that serves the public in this county,” he said. “I want to be able to say to people, ‘Here I am — not look who I am’.”
Cruise can be reached by calling 423-309-2534. “If you leave your name, address, and a time, I will come to your house at your convenience,” Cruise said.