Wesley B. Thurston of Frenchville, Covington Township, Clearfield County, recently announced his candidacy for the position of sheriff of Clearfield County in 2013.
Thurston was born in Allentown in June of 1955, the son of the late William Earl Thurston, a minister, and Emma May Thurston, a school teacher. He graduated from Custer High School, Custer, SD in 1973 and attended several semesters of a pre-med program at Marion College, Marion, IN, and the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.
Thurston began his law enforcement career in 1977 with the Bradford City Police Department, McKean County, where he served as a patrolman for seven years. He received his municipal police training at the Pennsylvania State Police Northwest Training Center in Meadville. He received additional training in rape crisis, stress management and automatic weapons at the local level.
Thurston investigated and made numerous arrests for major crimes during his service with Bradford City Police Department, including criminal homicide, robbery, forgery, burglary, and drug violations. He worked with the Office of the Attorney General, Bureau of Narcotics Investigation to successfully bring charges against a major drug dealer. Thurston received numerous commendations for his work. During his tenure with the Bradford City Police Department, Thurston worked part-time as a police officer with campus security for the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford and served as special deputy to the McKean County Sheriff.
In February of 1984, Thurston began his career with the Pennsylvania State Police, graduating in June of 1984 with high scholastic honors from the Pennsylvania State Police Academy in Hershey. He also received the American Legion Award for the Outstanding Cadet. He was first assigned as a patrol trooper at Corry, Warren, Clearfield and Kane stations, where he conducted routine patrol activities including traffic law enforcement, response to calls for assistance, investigation of vehicle accidents and investigation of criminal incidents.
Thurston was assigned to respond to the Camp Hill Prison riot, where he served on a statewide detail searching and securing the prison. In 1989, Thurston was assigned as a criminal investigator at Clearfield station, where he investigated and brought charges for crimes including criminal homicide, robbery, rape, aggravated assault, the sexual assault of children and numerous other offenses. He conducted various other death investigations in the Clearfield County area. While stationed at Clearfield, Thurston received additional training in drug interdiction, criminal homicide investigation, child abuse investigation and interviewing and interrogation techniques.
In 1992, Thurston was selected to serve as a Drug Law Enforcement Officer with the Pennsylvania State Police Region IV Strike Force in State College. He conducted undercover drug investigation and interdiction activities in north-central Pennsylvania, including Clearfield County. During this assignment, he received additional training in drug identification.
Thurston was promoted to the rank of corporal in 1993 and assigned as a patrol supervisor at Troop G, Rockview station, State College. He was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 1994 and was assigned as crime section supervisor at Fogelsville station in Troop M, Bethlehem. He supervised multiple criminal investigations for homicides, assaults and drug violations. He received a Troop Commander’s Letter of Commendation for work in a multiple homicide case.
In 1995, Thurston was assigned as station commander of Ridgway barracks. He served there until 1998 when he transferred to Troop H, Harrisburg and was assigned as patrol section supervisor. Duties included supervision and scheduling of approximately 40 patrol troopers and corporals for regular patrol and special details, enforcing reporting and field regulations and overseeing the entire patrol operation in the greater Harrisburg area.
Thurston was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in January of 1999 and was assigned as Director of the Programming Division, Bureau of Research and Development at Department Headquarters. His responsibilities included supervision of sergeants, corporals, troopers and civilian personnel. Thurston supervised such varied functions as maintaining directives, operation of the Uniform Crime Reporting System, developing and maintaining statistical information and ensuring the continued accreditation of the Department. He was responsible to advise the command staff on issues within his area of expertise, as requested. He was specifically assigned as project manager for the development of a web-based Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Reporting System, which provides automated information to the FBI and the general public. Thurston developed specifications for the system, facilitated a bidding process to hire a technology vendor and oversaw the completion of the most advanced crime reporting system to date. He received a Commissioner’s Letter of Commendation for his work. The automated crime information system remains accessible to the general public at http://ucr.psp.state.pa.us/UCR/ComMain.asp. Thurston was assigned to make a presentation to other states at the Uniform Crime Reporting Conference in Vail, CO as well as to the Criminal Justice Information System Conference in New Orleans, LA. He coordinated a comprehensive statewide Uniform Crime Reporting FBI training effort for state and municipal police.
Thurston was assigned as Acting Bureau Director in the absence of the bureau director. During his tenure with the Bureau of Research and Development, Thurston completed the Project Management Certificate Program from the International Institute of Learning Inc. and graduated from the Northwestern University of Police and Staff Command (Illinois). He also completed Police Executive Training from Pennsylvania State University.
Thurston was assigned as staff services section commander, Troop C, Punxsutawney in February of 2004. He was responsible for overseeing personnel issues, vendor contracts, scheduling troop drills and Groundhog Day details, budgeting, facility management, evidence room integrity, communications for Troop C Headquarters and six sub-stations, including Clearfield and Dubois stations. Responsibilities included internal investigations, labor-management liaison, equal opportunity liaison, procurement, supply, maintenance of equipment and vehicles, development of contracts, community services, training regarding sexual harassment in the workplace, and supervision of a team of state police members. On occasion, Thurston was assigned as acting troop commander in the absence of the troop commander.
After retiring from the Pennsylvania State Police in 2009, Thurston completed training from H&R Block, where he worked as a tax associate during the income tax seasons from 2010 through 2012.
Thurston and his wife of 25 years, Sandi (originally from Pottersdale area), are Christians and long-time members of the Hyde Wesleyan Church. They participate in nursing home ministry, where Sandi teaches Bible lessons and Wes, an accomplished pianist and songwriter, provides music and singing. As their children are grown, Wes and Sandi are periodically able to assist with missionary efforts, most recently in December of 2012, having traveled to York Rescue Mission in York, to assist in delivering blankets to the homeless and preparing for the mission’s Christmas activities.
Thurston’s hobbies include music, golfing, light carpentry, and watching wildlife, which regularly visits his yard and property.
Thurston brings a lifetime of law enforcement activity to the table, including extensive experience in administration and supervision. He has worked within the Clearfield County justice system and is familiar with many of the Clearfield County area officials, attorneys, and law enforcement personnel. He believes in being honest and compassionate in all dealings. He values and cultivates friendship with people from all walks of life.
Thurston is an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, along with rights of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly. He humbly requests your support in his bid for the Republican nomination for the position of Sheriff of Clearfield County. For more information you may contact Wes Thurston by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.