The Atchison County Missouri race for Sheriff has three candidates, incumbent Dennis Martin, Andy Riley, and Tyson Gibbons. There will be an upcoming forum for the election. This debate will be moderated by a neutral party from outside the area. The forum will take place at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, July 29, in the Tarkio High School Auditorium.

Those who plan on attending are encouraged to wear a mask. The debate will also be broadcast via Facebook Live on the 2020 Atchison County Sheriff’s Forum Facebook page and on the Atchison County Mail Facebook page. “Attendees” will be able to submit questions upon entering the debate and also submit questions via the Facebook Live event.

This is a great way to learn more about the candidates to help you decide on which to vote for. The election is Tuesday, August 4, and all three candidates are running on the Republican ticket.

The Primary Election will be held Tuesday, August 4, 2020. Locally, the only contested race is that of Atchison County Sheriff. Incumbent Dennis Martin will face Tyson Gibbons and Andy Riley, all on the Republican ticket.

The candidates were asked to submit information about themselves. They were asked to answer several questions, including: how long and in what capacities they have served in law enforcement, what problems they think they might face as sheriff in Atchison County in the upcoming years and how they plan to deal with them, and what changes, if any, do they plan to make if elected/re-elected sheriff. The final question was: What makes you the best choice for Atchison County Sheriff?

Their responses (printed as submitted) follow:


I’m Tyson Gibbons, a 24-year police officer who currently serves as Chief of Police of Tarkio where I have proudly served for the past 12 years. A native of Atchison County, I grew up on a farm in the Westboro area, and graduated from Tarkio High School in 1992, before attending college in MWSU in St. Joseph, MO. My experience in law enforcement is extensive. I started working at the Rock Port Police Department, Shenandoah Police Department, the Atchison County Sheriff’s Office, and as a Task Force Officer with the ATF’s NITRO Task Force, before becoming Chief of Police in Tarkio. I have gained my EMT-B certification, regularly working for the Atchison-Holt Ambulance District when needed.

These days, we live in uncertain times. The country is changing, Atchison County needs someone willing to adapt with it, while safeguarding your Constitutional rights. As time goes on, we need to train ALL of our deputies to be capable of responding to and handling all emergencies that happen in our county, while maintaining peace and order.

The changes I would like to see implemented are not just hopes and dreams, but actual obtainable goals to better serve our county community. Most of these are common sense to help serve you better, and I wonder why they aren’t already happening.

Encourage deputies to become Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) to enhance medical response in the rural parts of the county. Law enforcement are often the first one on scene at accidents and other critical incidents so this extra training could help save lives.

Promote a swift water rescue team, the Missouri River is dangerous and we need this resource.

Reinstitute Crime Stoppers through a smart phone mobile app, helping us solve crimes.

Utilize grants to provide additional funding for essential equipment. Deputies need to be properly equipped.

Develop a program to address Farm & Small Business Safety and Security. Your property is important to you and should be safeguarded.

Develop transparency through body worn cameras and car cameras. ALL the deputies and the sheriff will wear them.

Commission all city officers as reserves to increase depth of personnel for critical rural investigations-the more officers working together the better.

Actively participate in multi-agency response training and equipment familiarization with all agencies throughout the county. We’re a rural area with limited resources-we need to be able to work together. Start having meetings with the Police, Fire and Ambulance Department heads to keep us all on the same page.

Work with both city agencies and all schools, to deploy a certified School Resource Officer that will help provide a safe atmosphere for our kids.

Have deputies out and available for calls, reducing the time needed for a deputy to get to your emergency or call for service. Time is critical for a lot of incidents.

Deputies will take an active role in area events and/or programs, allowing them to answer questions and address concerns from the public.

Why am I the best choice for Atchison County? I will be a working Sheriff. You will see me out and answering calls. You will be able to find me and talk to me, ask me questions, or tell me your concerns. My deputies will be hired based on their abilities, not because of who they are. I will make sure that my office acts with integrity. My deputies and myself will do what you elect a Sheriff to do, properly and efficiently. I will do my absolute best to have a department that will protect and serve you, not just provide lip service to those ideas. I’m running because I firmly believe that Atchison County deserves better than what we have now. Change is needed and I believe I can bring about that change.


My name is Dennis D Martin and I am asking you to re-elect me as your Sheriff. I am again running on the Republican primary ballot.

Phyllis and I have been married for 45 years. We grew up in this awesome corner of the world and are blessed that our three grandkids (and their parents) also live in Atchison County.

I became a peace officer in September 1989, serving as a part-time police officer for the city of Tarkio while working full-time for the Atchison-Holt Ambulance District. I have served you as Sheriff for over 27 years. My goal when I started was very simple: to protect and to serve all citizens of this County. That goal has never changed.

To that end, the Atchison County Sheriff’s Office and I have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the citizens of Atchison County through floods, wind storms, floods, blizzards, closed roadways, floods, roadways turned to parking lots, floods, roadways that disappeared overnight, fatality crashes, overturned livestock truck/trailer crashes (with ensuing rodeo roundup), vehicle fires, structure fires, field fires, timber fires, medical calls, searches on the river, searches for lost children and elderly and students from Tarkio Academy, searches for jail escapees (figured I just as well say it before someone else did), vehicle thefts and car chases, domestic and other civil disputes and disorder, cases of thefts and burglaries and assaults- some of them solved, some of them not, and some not at all what they were reported to be.          

Throughout all of the aforementioned situations, I have cultivated relationships with and served alongside every Fire Department in the county, First Responders and the Atchison Holt Ambulance District, Atchison County 911 and Emergency Management, all divisions of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Missouri Department of Conservation, law enforcement agencies in neighboring counties and states, the Division of Family Services and the Juvenile Office, Atchison County elected officials and staff, CARE of Atchison County, the Fairfax-Rock Port-Tarkio school systems, MoDOT, the Corps of Engineers, US Coast Guard, National Guard, at least three multi-jurisdictional drug task forces, public utilities and no doubt others that I’m leaving out.

I do not know what the future holds for this County, this State and this Nation. But whatever comes our way, I feel I have the proven experience, maturity and willingness to continue serving the citizens of this County as your Sheriff.


I am Andrew Riley, I live in Tarkio Mo.

I am a native of Atchison County, and after my 20-year Military career, I returned and have been here since 2010.

I graduated the Military Law Enforcement Academy In 1991, I have held positions the title of section leader of patrol division where I oversaw 15 Law Enforcement Professionals. I worked as a field training officer, detective, and US Customs inspector. I have also attended and completed the Navy’s Military Leadership training, which is a senior enlisted military school.

Community perception of Law Enforcement and their purpose, such as how arrests are made, Drug interdiction and strategies, transparency between agencies, following thru on all cases to achieve the best outcome for the Atchison community.

I started my civilian law enforcement with the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, in 2008 as a Commissioned Corrections Officer and Reserve Deputy. From 2010 to the latter part of 2018, I served as an Atchison County Deputy Sheriff for Sheriff Dennis Martin. I chose to leave the Atchison County Sheriff’s Office in 2018 for a better career prospect, professional growth, and work opportunities in new Law Enforcement agency. I am currently working for the Nodaway County Sheriff Office as a Deputy Sheriff and Narcotics Investigator. I also have served as south ward alderman since 2012 over the streets and parks department.

I would employ proactive policing strategies, Drug investigations (buy’s, buy bust, covert drug operations leading to search warrants). Stealing, theft, and robbery cases can be worked like covert drug cases to recover stolen property. Deputies will be equipped with proper area specific training and equipment necessary to safely preform duties as needed. For example, I could use more practical and cost-effective vehicles, and use the savings to budget funds for training and equipment.

Reallocating funds for a more efficient Sheriff’s Office to allow growth of deputies, to match the ongoing needs of the community and ever-changing Criminal Element. I will also utilize grants with technological advancements in equipment such as search & rescue, crime scene tools, and communications. There is always a need for Sheriff’s Offices to be changing tactics to solve crimes. The same old, same old tactics will not always work and have not been working. I will strive to be an intricate part of the community and will bring a proactive form of law enforcement to the community, to quell the ongoing spike in crime rate, before it is to late and the members of our community no longer feel safe.

I am here to be a part of the community as a Sheriff enforcing the Law as written. It is not going to be hard for me to bring 24 hour coverage to the community, for better response time in emergencies that do occur after 10pm to 6am. Because there is no 24 hour coverage, how can the current administration guaranty the safety of our residence and property.