ST. JOHN | Lake County police Sgt. Oscar Martinez will make another run in 2014 to become sheriff.
Martinez, who has just completed his 20th year on the county police force, became the second challenger to Sheriff John Buncich's re-election campaign Saturday when he announced his intention to seek the office in a speech Saturday to supporters at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 717 in St. John.
Richard Ligon, a former Gary public safety director, formally announced last month he will be in the 2014 campaign.
Buncich, Ligon and Martinez received the most votes in the last Democratic primary for the office four years ago. Buncich outpolled Ligon by 1,129 votes. Martinez came in third.
Buncich, who won the 2010 general election, is in his 11th year as sheriff. He previously served two four-year terms from 1993 to 2002 but had to step down because of term limits.
Martinez said, "It is time for a new generation of leadership. This county needs a fresh face with new ideas."
If elected, he will aggressively pursue drug traffickers and gang members "who poison and terrorize our communities," he said.
Martinez has been prominent in past years for recognizing drug couriers traveling Lake County's interstates from Chicago, Detroit and drug trafficking centers in the south. He would find large stores of cocaine and drug profits in hidden compartments of their automobiles.
Martinez complained earlier this year Buncich had removed him from those responsibilities to avoid giving him publicity. Buncich said the flashy news conferences Martinez likes have been replaced by more productive, but quieter, detective work.
Ligon has 34 years of military experience and served 23 years in law enforcement for the U.S. Postal Service, including assignments in Northwest Indiana.