The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

February 23, 2014

Sheriff candidate wants to serve 'changing county'

By Jean Cole
jean@athensnews-courier.com

— Brad Pullum says he would make some changes if elected sheriff of Limestone County.

Pullum, a real estate appraiser and former lawman, recently qualified as a candidate for the June 3 Republican primary election.

He said his love for helping people was paramount in his decision to run for sheriff.

“I'd just like an opportunity to serve my community again in a quickly changing, growing Limestone County,” Pullum said. “Not riding too high, just serving the public as their sheriff with humility and honor.”

Among the issues Pullum said he would address if elected are creating a Sheriff’s Office substation in eastern Limestone County and making better use of the Sheriff’s Office budget.

Sheriff dream

A lifelong resident of Limestone County, Pullum graduated from West Limestone High School in 1987. He attended Calhoun Community College on a singing and performing arts scholarship with “The Calhoun Connection.” And although he had a keen interest in music, he said he always wanted to be a lawman.

“I never had any question as to what sort of degree I would pursue,” he said. “My primary focus and ambition in life, as far back as I can remember, has been to someday be elected and serve as sheriff of Limestone County.”

To that end, Pullum pursued a degree in criminal justice while working part time for his father as an appraiser’s assistant. When his high school sweetheart, Tonia Eckhardt, agreed to marry him, he felt like he had to do more, he said. So, he began working as a reserve deputy with the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office. Incumbent Sheriff Mike Blakely, whom Pullum considers a very good friend, hired him. As a reserve deputy, Pullum said he worked in the jail and dispatch areas and sometimes rode along with deputies.

Blakely then hired him as a full-time jailer and dispatcher and, three years later, at age 21, he was promoted to full-time deputy in the patrol division. Pullum graduated from the Alabama Police Academy in Selma and eventually earned a degree in police science. After a few years on patrol, he was promoted to criminal investigator.

He taught the Drug Resistance Education Program in the county schools and was appointed Limestone’s first multi-county drug interdiction officer. He also learned how to identify and investigate child abuse cases; graduated from the world-renowned Reid Interview and Interrogation School; and became the first deputy in Limestone certified to operate the voice-stress-analysis system (lie-detector test).

“If given the opportunity, I would continue the effective, excellent service long provided by our sheriff’s department,” Pullum said.

Changes

As for changes, Pullum said an eastside substation is needed because the bulk of the county’s population is there. Pullum said an officer should be in the East Limestone area at all times so he or she could quickly and safely respond in times of need, rather than trying to speed from another part of the county. He said this change could be achieved by shifting an existing employee to the substation.

“If it makes sense for Athens-Limestone Hospital to have a second Wellness Center in the eastern part of the county, then surely it makes sense to have a sheriff’s substation there,” he said.

A substation, he said, could also be used as a safe place for parents who are involved in acrimonious divorce proceedings to drop off or pick up their children.

Budget

As for the budget, Pullum said he believes it could be leaner. For example, he believes four-wheel-drive, natural-gas-powered SUVs would be more practical for deputies than the Crown Victorias they now drive.

“They would be more cost-effective without giving up speed,” he said. “They would be safer for the deputies, and a four-wheel drive would perform better in bad weather.”



Family

Pullum and his wife, who have been married nearly 26 years, have three daughters, Shelby, Olivia and Presley, and one grandson, Brantley Earl. The family attends Athens Christian Fellowship Church, where Pullum is a deacon and song/worship leader.