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Westmoreland Co. Sheriff Not Stepping Down Despite Controversy

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- There is a political storm brewing here at the Westmoreland County courthouse.

But the sheriff isn't running for cover.

He says he is proud of the work he has done and has no plans to step down.

"Absolutely not," said Westmoreland County Sheriff Jonathan Held.

That's how Held is responding to a county commissioner who is calling for his resignation.

Democratic commissioner Ted Kopas said at a weekly meeting that Held should consider stepping down because of several recent high profile issues that have come up in the sheriff's office.

Republican commissioners Chuck Anderson and Tyler Courtney have made it clear that they don't agree.

"The taxpayers elected me for a four-year term," Held said. "I'm not a quitter, I'm going to be here for at least four years."

The most recent issue to end up in the spotlight was $112 Oakley sunglasses that a handful of deputies were able to purchase with their annual uniform allowance from the county.

The sheriff also drew criticism when he appeared in this ad for an Allegheny County council candidate, even though his face is not seen and he had no knowledge that the photo from a public appearance was being used in this way.

Previously the sheriff came under fire when one of his deputies was arrested for heroin use outside of the East Liberty Target.

"Personnel issues happen in any organization, and it's something you deal with and all you can do is discipline appropriately and then other circumstances were out of my control," Held said.

The sheriff said Monday he can't control what his deputies do in their personal time.

He points out that he has already implemented a drug testing policy among his management team and will begin random drug testing among other members of his staff in the next few weeks.

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