Chief challenger DQ’d; Henderson unopposed

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The race for Brookhaven police chief is now uncontested afterwould-be candidate B.W. Pitts was not certified due to aninsufficient qualifying petition.

Officials from the city clerk’s office said Monday that only 32of the 51 signatures on Pitts’ petition to seek office as anindependent candidate were registered city voters. Independentcandidates must have the signatures of 50 registered city voters inmunicipal elections.

The decision means incumbent Police Chief Pap Henderson is nowunopposed after Friday’s qualifying deadline. He is seeking histhird term as chief.

Pitts, who has been on an oil field work-related assignment inWest Virginia since just after he turned in initial paperwork lastWednesday, said he is sorry about his bad luck.

“I could have gotten all the signatures myself, but I dependedon other people to get them for me and I guess that didn’t work outtoo good,” he said when contacted Tuesday morning. “I had to flyout the next morning after I signed up, and I thought I’d explainedthe rules to them, but some of the signatures turned out to bevoters in the county.”

Pitts said he and his family had prayed about his decision torun for the top law enforcement spot in the city, and they hadtrusted it to God.

“Me and my wife prayed about it, and we decided if it’s meant tobe it would be, so maybe it wasn’t the right time,” Pitts said.

He said he doesn’t know what the future holds as far as hisfuture in politics or law enforcement.

“I’m not sure, I may just be out of politics,” he said. “I’dlove to get back to the business, because I’ve got 17 years in lawenforcement. But I love the people in Brookhaven, and no one knowswhat the future holds.”

Henderson said he is happy to continue the work he loves,serving the city he calls home.

“I just love this town, and I love this job, and the mostimportant thing to me is to continue to improve this department andmake this town safer,” he said. “I can only say I’m grateful thatGod had planned this job for my life.”

For races that are contested in the city elections, the primaryis May 5. The general election to take place June 2.