MURRAY – A third candidate has filed to run for Calloway County Sheriff.

Ryan Dawson filed his paperwork to run for sheriff at the Calloway County Clerk’s Office on Monday. He will challenge incumbent Sheriff Nicky Knight for the Republican nomination in the May 17, 2022, primary election. In addition to Knight, Danny Williams also filed to run for sheriff as a Democrat. So far, he has no challenger for the Democratic nomination.

“I’ve lived in Calloway County for about 48 years now, so I’m not quite a lifelong resident, but I moved here when I was 1,” Dawson said. “I graduated from Calloway County High School and Murray State University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and sociology.”

Dawson started his law enforcement career in 1994 as a dispatcher with the Murray Police Department and was hired as an officer in 1995. He worked for MPD until the end of 1997 and then left to join the Kentucky State Police, where he worked from 1998 until his retirement in 2014. He soon took a position as a part-time deputy with the Calloway County Sheriff’s Office, working as a school resource officer (SRO) before taking a full-time position in 2015 with the Murray-Calloway County Hospital as its security director. 

“During that time, I had opened up my own business, where I was teaching drivers education school and was working part time for the state,” Dawson said. “When COVID came along, I had to shut down my driving school, so I had to go back to work full-time and went back to doing what I know how to do at the Murray Police Department.”

Dawson said a major part of his platform is the protection and safety of Calloway County’s teenagers. He said he has been disturbed by some of the TikTok videos people have shown him of local teens fighting and engaging in violent behavior, and he thinks that could be helped through community engagement.

“A lot of times when people say ‘violence,’ the first thing people think of is an active shooter coming in or something like that, but it’s the things that our kids are doing and being exposed to in the schools (that are a problem),” Dawson said. “So we’ve got to find a way to start reaching our kids earlier when they’re in elementary school to try to teach them ways to deal with anger and what’s right and what’s wrong. I want the sheriff’s department to take an active role in that. Of course, we have school resource officers in the schools already, but I want to see them taking a more active role in developing these kids rather than just being a presence there.”

Dawson said that if elected, he would also push for more collaboration between CCSO and MPD.

“Being on both sides of the coin, working for the sheriff’s department and for the city police department, I want to bring a better level of communication (between the agencies),” he said. “I see a lot of times that they operate as independent agencies, which they are, but a lot of our criminals are crossing not only the city boundary line into the county, but they are also crossing county lines and they’re doing the same thing here in Calloway that they’re doing in Graves and McCracken. So I want to develop something like an interagency agreement for better sharing of information and working together to deal with the problems we are facing, whether it be drugs or thefts or anything of that nature.”