Kon­tra again looks to chal­lenge Evans for sher­iff

Switches par­ties to GOP

The Calvert Recorder - - Front Page - By AN­DREW CEPHAS acephas@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @CalRecANDREW

Sgt. Craig Kon­tra of the Calvert County Sher­iff’s Of­fice filed for the county’s elected sher­iff po­si­tion last week fol­low­ing a close but un­suc­cess­ful run in 2014.

Orig­i­nally from Mun­hall, Pa., Kon­tra was ex­pected to im­me­di­ately be­gin work­ing at the steel mill upon grad­u­at­ing from high school. He worked there for five years as an ap­pren­tice, dur­ing which time he said the in­dus­try was de­clin­ing and he was laid off.

Af­ter Kon­tra re­turned to school, his fa­ther lo­cated an ad­ver­tise­ment in the Pitts­burgh Press for a job po­si­tion with the Charles County De­ten­tion Cen­ter. In 1984, Kon­tra made the move to Mary­land and be­gan work­ing with the de­ten­tion cen­ter.

“I spent a year and a half in the Charles County De­ten­tion Cen­ter. I got two of­fers. I got an of­fer with the D.C. po­lice and the North Beach Po­lice De­part­ment. At this point, you had to live in D.C. [to work for the po­lice de­part­ment]. I’m a coun­try boy. I couldn’t live in the city, so I took the North Beach job,” Kon­tra said.

Kon­tra worked in North Beach for two years be­fore the de­part­ment dis­banded and he was hired at the Riverdale Po­lice De­part­ment. He worked there for sev­eral months be­fore he was con­tacted by the Calvert County Sher­iff’s Of­fice — which he was ap­ply­ing for the whole time — to let him know he was ac­cepted. In Fe­bru­ary 1988, Kon­tra be­gan his ca­reer with the sher­iff’s of­fice.

Over his years work­ing with the Calvert County Sher­iff’s Of­fice, Kon­tra said he has served in ev­ery bureau, from road pa­trol to work­ing with the South­ern Mary­land Nar­cotic Task Force. His long­est stretch in one de­part­ment was with the war­rant di­vi­sion from 1997 to 2015. He also noted he has man­aged the sher­iff’s of­fice’s $500,000 child sup­port bud­get.

Kon­tra said he has been rec­og­nized at the state level and lo­cally for var­i­ous awards. He said he can only re­call one other Calvert of­fi­cer be­sides him­self who re­ceived deputy of the year three times.

“I’ve seen sher­iffs come. I’ve seen sher­iffs go. I’ve seen what the peo­ple want and what the de­part­ment needs,” Kon­tra ex­plained, adding he ran for sher­iff in 2014 and lost by 625 votes. “All through my ca­reer I’ve en­joyed help­ing peo­ple out. I love try­ing to find so­lu­tions to ev­ery­body’s prob­lem. I think I can do that with the com­mu­ni­ties, which we need to get back into.”

In­di­cat­ing there are many changes that need to be made in the sher­iff’s of­fice to make it more ef­fi­cient, Kon­tra said this has been a dream of his for the last 10 or 11 years. He re­ferred to the opi­oid epi­demic as the big­gest prob­lem in the county and said it will be his main pri­or­ity, if elected. “We have peo­ple dy­ing and peo­ple over­dos­ing. We can’t ar­rest our­self out of this sit­u­a­tion. We have to work with the peo­ple. We have to work with the re­habs. We have to work with coun­selors,” he said, de­scrib­ing the county’s drug court as an ex­cel­lent tool.

Kon­tra said he is the best can­di­date for sher­iff be­cause his train­ing and ex­pe­ri­ence at the sher­iff’s of­fice, along with his prob­lem-solv­ing skills.

“One of the say­ings I tell ev­ery­body is a year be­fore elec­tion you watch, ev­ery­thing gets done. Ev­ery­thing gets done. But I guar­an­tee you ev­ery year for me is go­ing to be an elec­tion year. Things will get done,” Kon­tra said.

Kon­tra, who ran as a Demo­crat in the 2014 elec­tion, is now run­ning as a Repub­li­can. Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from high school, Kon­tra said his fa­ther told him he was a Demo­crat and he fol­lowed suit. Since get­ting more in­volved in the po­lit­i­cal field, Kon­tra said he sees his ide­olo­gies align more closely with the Repub­li­can Party.

Sher­iff Mike Evans (R) and Kin­sey Weems have also for­mally filed with the elec­tion board for Calvert County sher­iff in the 2018 elec­tion.


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