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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Former Navy captain takes over as Carter County sheriff

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Carter County voters on June 7 elected a retired Navy captain to replace jailed former sheriff.

Bruce Van Belle beat out two others for the Democratic ticket nomination, and then four candidates on the ballot, most with some law enforcement experience.

Van Belle, who was sworn in last week, must attend a Peace Officer Standards and Training course before he can make arrests. He is certified to carry a weapon.

Van Belle will replace Tommy Adams who resigned in April after being arrested for using and selling methamphetamine.

The election results were:

Democrat Bruce Van Belle -- 351

Independent Cliff Cumins -- 334

Independent Wendall Clark -- 307

Republican Don Frazier -- 180

Independent Tracy Green -- 123

"People here are tired of the corruption," Van Belle said in an earlier interview. "They want a sheriff's department they can trust."

Van Belle is now the fifth person to hold the sheriff's position since Sheriff Greg Melton committed suicide just weeks before the 2008 election.

Immediately after Melton's death in October 2008, Carter County Coroner ---- served as interim sheriff until Adams (who defeated Melton on the 2008 ballot by one vote) took office in January 2009.

When Adams resigned following the drug charges, ---- took over again until the county commission appointed Van Buren Police Officer Richard Stephens as interim sheriff.

Stephens was ineligible to run for the office because he has not lived in the county for a full year.

Democratic committee chairman George Myers said the Democratic committee was looking for "a fresh face," and chose to nominate Van Belle because he has no ties to the county.

Adams is being held in the Cape Girardeau Jail on a $250,000 cash-only bond.

On June 6, Adams pleaded not guilty and asked for a bond reduction. Adams had been in the Cape Girardeau Jail on a $250,000 cash-only bond since his April arrest.

The court approved resetting the bond to $200,000 cash or surety, which will also stand for any additional charges that may be filed.

Three days later, Adams was released on bond.

The case is set for a preliminary hearing on July 12 on a change of venue to Wayne County.

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