Phil Gregory has focused on becoming jailer for five years
By Jim Turner

Posted on May 13, 2014 9:28 PM

This is the eighth in a series of features about candidates who have advertised in

The Logan Journal.

The Logan County Primary Elections are a week from today and many candidates have been campaigning for a couple of months, a few three or four months. For Phil Gregory, this is a day he has been preparing for over the past five years.

Gregory came within an eyelash of being Logan County Jailer the last four years. He was leading going into the final precinct tally in the 2010 General Election. Incumbent Jailer Bill Jenkins won the Adairville precinct in which he lives by enough votes to edge Gregory by 34 votes. From that day forward, Gregory has been preparing to seek the office again, after having campaigned for jailer the year prior to the election. That makes five years total.

“I’ve spent the four years since that election working toward this goal. I’ve studied the Department of Corrections websites and made phone calls when I wanted a clarification,” he says. “I’ve studied state and federal laws governing jails.”

He is running in the Republican primary. It is the only countywide race in which Republican voters have a choice.

Phil Gregory has won the support of Logan County voters repeatedly in the past. He served 13 years as Logan County Coroner, a county-wide elective position. He also served 16 years as director of the Logan County Ambulance Service. He is a paramedic graduate and a certified fire fighter and earned his masters in training. He also holds master coroner certification.

His first jail/law enforcement experience came when he was a military police officer and worked in a military stockade (jail) as a counselor and guard, transporting prisoners from Fort Knox to a maximum security prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He has been professionally trained and certified by the Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice in Office Administration, Firearms 1 and 2, Mass Disaster Planning, Case Interview, Case Preparation, Courtroom Demeanor, Child Death Investigation, Post-Morten Examination, Evidence and DNA Recovery, and Courtroom Preparation. He is experienced in working with the United States Prosecuting Attorney's Office. 

The case he worked which drew the most attention involved looters at historic Savage Cave near Adairville. As reporter Maureen Hayden wrote in a front page story of the Sunday, July 2, 1995 Evansville Courier, "In Kentucky, the coroner has broad powers as the county's chief death investigator. He can arrest a suspect, seize evidence and use a gun if needed to enforce the law." Gregory used his gun to arrest two men who were stealing Native American artifacts and disturbing graves inside the cave. With the help of Deputy Coroner Dale Shields and Deputy Sheriff Travis Harris, Gregory persuaded the men to surrender and then arrested them. The two Tennessee men pleaded guilty to charges they violated the federal Archaeological Resources Protection Act and were sentenced to jail. A third man Gregory had apprehended at the entrance cooperated with officials in providing evidence. 

In addition to his work in and with law enforcement, Phil Gregory also has business experience. He owned and operated Gregory’s Specialized Transportation for several years. “The jailer is the CEO of the jail, managing a $2.3-million business,” he says. “I also have experience working with a board while I was ambulance service director, and even more importantly I have made countless appearances before fiscal court, both as coroner and as ambulance service director. No one else running for jailer has that kind of experience.”

Gregory promises to perform all the duties of his job if elected. He says he will be a full-time jailer, visible to the inmates and to the public. "I will not forget that I work for the voters of Logan County and that I don't own the jail, the taxpayers of Logan County do," he says. "I will work tirelessly to improve the jail's reputation." 

He says cutting expenses at the jail and reducing its budget will be a priority: "The jail needs and deserves a jailer to oversee that budget on a daily basis and to try to come up with ways to cut costs so that citizens' hard-earned tax dollars can stay in their house and out of the jail house. If elected, I will work tirelessly to come up with ways to cut the costs and stop excessive spending at the jail. It’s time for a fiscal conservative and businessman to oversee the operation of the jail." 

Another plank of his platform is allowing and encouraging non-denominational church services at the jail on Sundays for those who want to attend. He also believes that all inmates who are legally able and physically able should perform some sort of community service and/or be in a work release program. "This enables the inmates to get back into the work force, earn their keep and transition into productive citizens."

A 1969 graduate of Russellville High School who studied at Western Kentucky University, Phil Gregory is the son of Billy and Muriel Williamson Gregory. He is married to the former Janie Sanders, whose late parents Jimmy and Kathleen Sanders began Sanders Funeral Home. Phil and Janie have a daughter, Valerie, who is married to Richard Hughes of Adairville. They have two grandsons, Jon-Keith Smith and Alex Hughes. Phil Gregory has lived and worked in Logan County for over 50 years.

“Our family has a history of heading the jail,” Phil says. “Janie’s grandfather (Clyde ‘Red’ Sanders) and her uncle (Ray Max Sanders) were jailers, and so was my great-uncle, Joe Gunn Gregory. You might say it runs in the family.”

Phil Gregory hopes history repeats itself during the 2014 elections—plus another 35 votes.

Paid for by Phil Gregory

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