Former Cincinnati Police District Captain To Run for Sheriff

Sep 28, 2015

Republican sheriff candidate Gary Lee
Credit Gary Lee campaign Facebook page

Gary Lee, a former Cincinnati Police Department captain, announced Monday he will run as a Republican for Hamilton County Sheriff in 2016.

But Lee may have competition for the GOP nomination. Retired assistant Cincinnati police chief Vince Demasi told WVXU Tuesday that he is "very seriously" considering leaving his present job as Mt. Healthy's police chief to run for sheriff. 

Demasi would have to give up the Mt. Healthy job in order to run; and he said that would be a key factor in his decision "because Mt. Healthy has been very good to me." 

The filing deadline for candidates in the March primary is Dec. 16. 

Hamilton County GOP chairman Alex Triantafilou said the party has no endorsed candidate at this point and the chairman said others may be interested in the job.

Lee, who formally annonced his candidacy Monday, is looking to unseat the incumbent Democrat, Jim Neil, a 30-year-veteran of the sheriff’s department. In 2012, Neil scored an upset for the Democrats by defeating retiring Sheriff Simon Leis’ hand-picked successor, Chief Deputy Sean Donovan.

Lee's campaign manager, Jamie Schwartz, said that if the party decides to make an endorsement in the race, "we will pursue it vigorously." He said Lee "has every intention to run through the primary." 

If Lee does not get the party endorsement, Schwartz said the Lee campaign "would re-evaluate, but we're not in any position to say what would happen." 

Lee spent 33 years in the Cincinnati Police Department, holding positions in the vice unit, special services section, inspection section and as the first commander of the fusion section, which focused on Homeland Security and crime analysis. His last assignment for the Cincinnati Police Department was as commander of District 1.

Since retiring from the police department, Lee has worked as a trauma therapist and taught criminal justice classes at the University of Cincinnati. He and his family live in Delhi Township.