PAXTON — Saying he wants to embark on "another phase in my career," Paxton Police Chief Bob Bane announced Tuesday that he will run for the Ford County sheriff's seat in the March 2014 Republican primary election.
Bane will be challenging two Gibson City residents — two-term incumbent Sheriff Mark Doran and Dennis Higgins, who has been coordinator of the Ford County Emergency Management Agency since January 2009 following a 27-year career in emergency services.
"I've been thinking about this for the last four years," Bane said. "I decided that this is the time in my life to do this. I've been a police officer for 33 years. I've got dispatching experience. I've got corrections experience. And it's time for me to make a career change to the sheriff's office."
Bane, 54, has lived in Paxton since 1987, when he was hired as a patrol officer for the Paxton Police Department. Bane was later promoted to captain and then hired in 2006 as police chief as a replacement for the retiring Ken Mutchmore.
As police chief, Bane has overseen a staff of six full-time officers and three part-time officers, while also handling patrol duties and investigations himself.
"I'm a working chief," Bane said.
Bane said he is proud of the improvements the police department has made under his watch — in particular, the technology upgrades made.
"I think we have changed the police department in the last seven years in a positive manner," he said. "We are now all computerized. We have things we didn't have before, to stay up with technology. We've done wonders with the police department."
Bane said he will continue to work for the Paxton Police Department unless he wins election as sheriff.
Bane said he will be running a "clean campaign" — one that focuses on his abilities rather than his opponents'. For that reason, he is not getting into a lot of specifics about what he believes needs improved in the sheriff's office.
"I believe there needs to be some improvements that I'm not going to speak of, and I believe I can make those improvements for the better," Bane said.