Cullman County District Attorney race opponents share why the people are important

Photos contributed

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman County District Attorney incumbent Wilson Blaylock and challenger, local attorney Champ Crocker, shared with The Cullman Tribune their thoughts on the upcoming election for DA.

The question the Tribune posed to each candidate was simply,

“Why are the people that you’ll be representing – if you win – important to you?”

Blaylock said his focus has been and will always be to seek justice as Cullman County’s top law enforcement official. 

“Whether it is representing the victims of crimes or their families, custodial parents in child support cases, or the citizens of Cullman County at-large, my office will continue to prosecute each case to the extent that justice requires,” Blaylock said. “The results of ‘justice’ has changed drastically over the years. For example, in recent years, we have seen the State Legislature enact so-called ‘prison reform’ laws that have led to a mass exodus of career criminals from the prison system back into our neighborhoods. The Legislature has also handicapped our ability to seek justice by mandating other laws such as the sentencing guidelines, which often prevents us from sending many habitual offenders to prison. These laws, which are targeted at saving the State of Alabama money by decreasing the size of the prison population, have placed our citizens’ safety at risk.”

Blaylock went on to say, “While our office has been presented with challenges, we have also sought solutions to confront these challenges. An example of such a solution is the creation of the Helping Families Initiative (HFI). The HFI is targeted at helping students with truancy or disciplinary problems to build productive futures while improving the safety and learning environments for all.  Studies have shown that the vast majority of adult offenders had certain behavioral characteristics that could be identified during their school-aged years. The HFI was primarily created to help correct the problems and decision-making of at-risk children that could lead them down a path of crime. The HFI is a full-community effort that involves the local school systems and representatives from throughout the community.”

Blaylock finished, saying, “The District Attorney is tasked with more than just the prosecution of criminal cases. Our office also offers many more services such as Victim Services, Worthless Check Unit, Court Cost and Restitution Recovery Unit and Child Support Enforcement Unit. Our office will continue to offer these services to our community because our families and communities deserve it. Representing the people of Cullman County has been a great responsibility. I would be honored to continue to serve you as District Attorney because Cullman County is such a special place that I will always fight to keep it safe.”

Cullman attorney Champ Crocker first thanked The Tribune for focusing this question on what matters the most in this election and every election and that is the people.

“I’m running because the people of this community matter to me. I grew up here, my law practice is here, and my wife and I chose to raise our family here. We have two young children who I want to grow up in the same safe, secure community I did,” Crocker said. “There is a national conversation happening right now revealing that who you elect as District Attorney will have more practical impact on your quality of life than any other elected official.”

Crocker discussed his goal of a safe community starts with the people supporting law enforcement.

“As District Attorney, I will support and partner with our law enforcement because they are on the front lines,” Crocker said. “I have represented law enforcement officers and agencies as an attorney, attended countless events supporting our officers and I have served as a legal instructor for the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office, Cullman Police Department and Alabama Reserve Deputies Association. I have ridden the roads of this county with deputies, and I’ve been on scene with them in confrontations with combative individuals. I have seen firsthand what our officers face, which is why I will be fully engaged with law enforcement and the community.”

Crocker’s final thoughts included the importance of sharing that the District Attorney represents the State of Alabama in court, but crime victims serve as the face of the State.

“I will establish a Victims Advisory Council on my first day in office and will take other measures to give victims the priority, acknowledgement and justice they deserve. I will use my training and experience and that of my staff so we can win our cases at trial. The people should expect nothing less,” he said. “I will have a transparent administration. Access should not be hard. It should not be hard to see your elected officials. That is why I will have an open-door policy – to be ready, willing and able to assist the people of Cullman County. If someone is calling the District Attorney’s Office, it’s probably because they are having a bad day. My staff and I will conduct ourselves with professionalism, courtesy and respect for the citizens,” Crocker continued.

Crocker added, “The Office of District Attorney does not belong to any individual – it belongs to the people. In 2016, Donald Trump said ‘The problems we face now…will last only as long as we continue relying on the same politicians who created them. A change in leadership is required to change these outcomes.’ I am running to bring change so that the Office of District Attorney serves the people as it should.”

The primary election will be held Tuesday, May 24, 2022.