By Erik Martin
UNION CITY, Ohio — On Wednesday, Union City, Ohio, Police Chief Mark Ater Jr. declared he will run for Darke County Sheriff.
This comes on the heels of as-yet unofficial reports the current Darke County Sheriff, Toby L. Spencer, will resign before his term of office ends in 2024. A spokesperson for the Darke County Sheriff’s Office said an announcement will be forthcoming.
Spencer has served as Darke County Sheriff since first being elected in 1992, and has served with the department since 1974.
Ater, who resides in Greenville, announced his interest to run on the Republican ticket for Darke County Sheriff. He has served as a police officer in Union City since 2009 and as the department’s police chief since 2016.
In a press release, Chief Ater said he prides himself on standing up for what is right and is a large proponent of the United States Constitution. He is a member of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association.
Ater stated he “believes it is important to uphold the U.S. Constitution, especially in today’s world, where it seems politicians are performing an outrageous amount of government overreach.”
He has taken a vocal stand against mandates issued by the state and federal government he calls unconstitutional, including recent mask and vaccination mandates. Ater stated he is “a firm believer in the freedom of choice when it comes to being masked and vaccinated and he will continue to stand up for our local communities and against any politician who attempts to violate the rights of the American people.”
Ater added he is a large proponent of less restrictive gun laws and states he believes the “good guys” should always have the right to bear arms, committed to standing up for the constitutional rights of the Darke County Community.
Ater, in his press release, cited a “lack of accountability in the local justice system” as another reason he is running. He has frequently spoken out against what he says is a lack of accountability in one of the local courts. Ater says he wants Darke County to remain “a safe place to live and grow a family” and feels criminals should be held accountable for the crimes they commit rather than being sentenced to what he refers to as the “hug a thug” program (Community Control Sanctions), in which violent and repeat offenders are being allowed to live in and wreak havoc in the community.
Ater cites a record of being financially responsible while managing the Union City Police Department, improving the services provided to the community, including improved equipment, starting a K-9 program, and increased manpower, utilizing state and federal grant monies.
Those with questions for Chief Ater may feel free to email him at [email protected]. His campaign website is www.aterforsheriff.com.
Contact Daily Advocate Editor Erik Martin by email at [email protected].