WAAY 31 heard on Tuesday from Limestone County Democrats after the sheriff was arrested on more than a dozen criminal charges.
Sheriff Mike Blakely, one of the few Democrat elected leaders in Limestone County, faces 13 theft and ethics charges. We wanted to hear what his party says about the allegations.
The chairman of the Limestone County Democratic Party says it’s obvious Blakely has touched a lot of people’s lives, just one of the reasons he says Blakely has remained sheriff for so long in a red county.
“I have never had any doubt that Mike Blakely has had the interest of the job he was elected to do at heart,” Ken Hines, the chairman of the Limestone County Democratic Party, said.
When he heard democratic sheriff, Mike Blakely, was indicted on 13 theft and ethics charges, he was shocked.
“He has been a very caring person, as far as I can tell,” Hines said.
Blakely is the longest-serving sheriff in Alabama history, after he was re-elected to his tenth term last year. The recent indictment by the attorney general’s office accuses him of stealing about $84,000 from campaign funds, law enforcement funds and inmates’ personal funds.
“Sheriff Blakely is a public servant and we expect public servants to display a very high degree of dedication and ethical behavior,” Hines said.
If Blakely is guilty of the charges made against him, Hines has this to say.
“We would hope that he would admit to his guilt and resign from his position. Your good deeds do not excuse you from the ethical behavior that is expected of you,” he said.
However, if Blakely is not guilty, he has this to say.
"What we hope is that the court will issue a speedy verdict, that they will remove this burden from him, so that he can continue to serve the people of Limestone County without that shadow hanging over him,” Hines said.
Either way, Hines has a message for the community.
“If he has solved their problems, or comforted them in a time of crisis, we have no reason to forget that,” he said.
Hines says, because of Sheriff Blakely’s relationship to the community and the amount of years he’s served in his position, he really hopes the charges made against Blakely prove to be groundless.
We also reached out to Limestone County Republicans. Here's a portion of the statement they sent us:
"When charges of corruption are brought against an elected official, it is a serious matter, and one that must be dealt with, not just by the official and the lawyers involved, but also by the entire community. This is a difficult thing for our county, and especially for the sheriff's department. We are all affected by corruption and violations of ethics. We pray for all that are involved."
Four judges in Limestone County have recused themselves from presiding over the criminal case of Sheriff Mike Blakely. Read more here.