The man who has been Belmont County’s chief deputy for nine years has announced he’s going to run for sheriff next year.

James Zusack has been employed with the sheriff’s department for 31 years.

He says when Sheriff Dave Lucas decided not to seek re-election, he decided he would run for the office.

“I worked under three sheriffs—Sheriff McCort, Sheriff Thompson and Sheriff Lucas,” said Zusack. “I’ve learned things from each one of these people that I can bring to the table. I started out at the jail at the beginning of my career. I won’t forget where I came from.”

Zusack graduated from St. Clairsville High School, the University of Akron and the Ohio Peace Officers Training Academy.

He started at the sheriff’s department as a jailer, then a road deputy, then sergeant and finally chief deputy.

He’s been a member of the Special Operations Branch for 17 years.

He believes in the importance of keeping in communication with the county residents.