Dennis Ray Burton, with 30 years experience in law enforcement, is announcing his candidacy for Sharp County Sheriff subject to the Democratic primary in May 2010.
The son of Ray and Oleta Burton, he is a Sharp County native and a 1975 graduate of Highland High School. He is married to Karen Orosz Burton and has four children, Michael of Highland, Ryan of Jonesboro, Michelle Daggett and Tamara Burton-Wilson of Cherokee Village and 11 grandchildren.
Burton has a genuine interest in the safety and welfare of all Sharp County citizens and he desires to visit with as many as possible in the coming months to discuss his goals as sheriff. He wants to get drugs and alcohol education programs in all county schools with hands-on assistance from the sheriff's office personnel. He thinks each school should have a resource officer with direct communication to the sheriff's office and he sincerely believes more patrols are needed in the rural areas of the county.
Upon graduation from the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy in 1970, Burton began work as a patrolman with the Salem, Ark., police department. In 1981, he became chief deputy in Sharp County and served for 12 years in that capacity. Since 1992, he has been working as a probation/parole officer II with the Arkansas Department of Corrections.
As a member of the Sharp County Quorum Court (Justice of the Peace, District IV) since 2003, Buton has served on the road committee, budget committee and justice complex committee, and chaired the committee that located the new county shop at the fairgrounds south of Ash Flat.
Burton attended the charter class of ARK (At Risk Kids) sponsored by the Arkansas Sheriff's Association in 1984 and subsequently helped bring drug and alcohol education into elementary schools across the state and particularly in Sharp County. In 1986, he helped raise $6,500 to purchase DAVY (Drugs and Alcohol Versus Youth), a robot car to be used in the education programs in Sharp County schools.
In 1989, Burton worked as a representative of the sheriff's office with the Highland High School administration, senor class sponsors and parents of seniors to start the tradition of an all-night Drug and Alcohol Free party following graduation. HHS seniors still enjoy the benefits of that effort annually. Since that time he has helped get this same type of good, safe fun for recent graduates and invited guests, started in Salem, Melbourne and Pocahontas.
Burton recently finished 20 years as an adult leader and program presenter for TONE (Teens of North East). Each year over 350 high school students from more than 30 Arkansas schools learn new ideas through active participation in skits to take back to their peers and continue the education effort about drugs and alcohol abuse, traffic safety and sexual abstinence.
Burton's continuing education course work includes PONI (Planning of New Institutions, such as county jails) sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice; Cross Discipline Training; DNA Data Base Collection; Forensic Hypnosis and Criminal Sexuality; Latent Prints and Evidence Collection conducted by the FBI.