Two file to run for Saline Co. Sheriff; no sign of Bruce Pennington yet

BENTON (KATV) - Monday marked political filing day across the state of Arkansas - no different in Saline County.{} All eyes there are on the sheriff's race with former Saline County Sheriff Bruce Pennington announcing last week he plans to seek the seat he vacated in 2013.

No sign of Pennington on the first day of candidate filing.{} It was republican E.J. Harris who was first in line to file for the sheriff's position.{} He's one of several republicans expected to run.{} Harris says his resume speaks for itself.

"I have the most years of experience in law enforcement," said Harris.{} "I have 34 years in law enforcement."

Several of those 34 years Harris spent at a U.S. marshal, spending the rest of his time with nearly a half-dozen different police departments across Arkansas.

Harris said there's a lot of work that needs to be done to clean up the Saline County Sheriff's Department - something he said Interim Sheriff Cleve Barfield has made progress on.

"Once you lose that respect and dignity, you've got to work hard to get that back in Saline County," said Harris.

Harris said the hard work to regain the trust of Saline County residents is something Pennington shouldn't attempt to do again.

"I think that's not a real good political move on his part due to his last actions," said Harris.

Even though Harris was one of just two to sign up on Monday, the other candidate being Capt. Simon Haynes of the Pulaski County Sheriff's Department, candidates have until next Monday to file their petition for run for sheriff.

"A lot of times people will wait until the very last day to see what's kind of going on and then they'll make their final decision," said Doug Curtis, Saline County Clerk.

Curtis believes there may be as many as nine people running for that sheriff's position.{} He believes Pennington may be waiting it out to see who actually files for the position.{}

Nine candidates, Curtis mentions, is a pretty crowded race with generally between three and five people generally running in an election without an incumbent vying for the position.{} Curtis believes it's all the publicity the Saline County sheriff's office has received recently that has made so many people decide to throw their hat in the ring.