January 10, 2019 11:02:55 AM
The contents of this article have been modified since its original posting.
Lowndes County Sheriff's Office Capt. Greg Wright has joined the race for sheriff as two other candidates have dropped out to support him.
Wright, a 30-plus-year law enforcement veteran, qualified on Wednesday to run as a Republican for the position, which two-term incumbent Mike Arledge has confirmed he will not seek again.
He serves as captain for LCSO's criminal investigations division.
Four candidates in total had filed to run for the position. However, earlier qualifiers Archie Williams and Ryan Rickert, both of whom are also captains with LCSO, withdrew as a "show of solidarity" within the department.
"Several of us got together, including Capt. Rickert," Williams said. "We decided that basically, it would be best for us to promote one person from the department and come together on what would be better for the department itself and also the county."
Williams leads LCSO SWAT and the joint Columbus-Lowndes narcotics task force. Rickert is the Lowndes County Adult Detention Center Administrator. Both had intended to run as Republicans.
"Everybody down there is like family to me," Rickert said. "I felt it was a good decision for the department to support one candidate and for me to continue on the course I'm in right now."
Wright said both Williams and Rickert accompanied him as he qualified at the circuit clerk's office, and they pulled their names from the race at that time.
"I'm humbled by that," Wright said. "They're both good guys. It shows they're on board with the direction we're going, which is keeping the department's reputation going in the right direction and helping to expand on what we have."
Wright started his law enforcement career in 1987, at the Moss Point Police Department. He graduated from the police academy in 1988. He's also worked with the Oxford and Batesville police departments, and during that time he worked on the Panola-Tate narcotics task force.
Wright came to LCSO in 1991 under former sheriff Dennis Prescott. He said he's worked everything at LCSO but narcotics. He has more than 20 years of experience in investigations.
Wright said he's previously served as a chief deputy and worked as interim sheriff between the end of former sheriff Butch Howard's last term and current Sheriff Mike Arledge taking office.
After Arledge took office, Wright was reassigned to Golden Triangle Regional Airport as a lieutenant. He was promoted again to captain for LCSO's criminal investigations division in October 2017.
"I have a love for this place," Wright said. "I've devoted a lot to it. ... I would like to say that I applaud Sheriff Arledge for everything he's done for this department. He will be missed. We're going to try to keep on what he has lined up and keep pushing on."
Rick Jones, a former Lowndes County Adult Detention Center administrator, qualified for the election last week and remains in the race.
1. Bullets from private gun range crossing public road COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
2. Mayor breaks tie to approve $9K trip to Atlanta COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
3. 'Living their best lives': Gautreau boys, with Darth Vader toy in-hand, happily add to State's luck in Omaha STARKVILLE & OKTIBBEHA COUNTY
4. CAFB major dies on Caribbean cruise liner COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY