Democratic challenger Wayne Merritt and incumbent Republican Sheriff Richard Wrinkle squared off in a debate for sheriff candidates Thursday.
The event was hosted by the Lebanon Tea Party Patriots at the Mills Center Thursday evening.
Gubernatorial candidate Republican Dave Spence had indicated he might attend the Tea Party meeting, but he was unable because of a scheduling conflict.
The sheriff candidates offered brief opening remarks, then fielded questions from moderators.
A difference in philosophy arose when asked about the use of volunteer deputies to reduce costs.
Merritt, a lieutenant with the Lebanon Police Department, said he hopes to make use of multiple reserve officers if elected.
“I want to get good, trained reserve officers. I’ve got people out here that are retired, and people that want to make a difference in the community. ... If you put people in an area, a zone, and keep an eye on that zone, you have a pretty good shot of catching somebody.”
Merritt said he plans to have two people in the patrol cars, a deputy and a reserve officer. “Officers don’t like to go to a bad call and not have somebody to back them up,” he said. “... They’re going to be qualified, they’re going to have their certifications, and they’re going to know what to do. I’m not just going to put anybody out there that’s running rampant and wants to fight or anything else. They’re going to have a head on their shoulders.”
Wrinkle disagreed with the advisability of using reserve officers on patrol. “The first guy that I worked with at the police department, he said, ‘If you’re by yourself, you know what you can depend on.’ If you got somebody with you that you really don’t know, you might think you have some help when you don’t.
“My deputies always go by themselves. ... We might have a car that’s 30 miles away from them. We back up our people the best we can.”
For the complete article, see today's print edition of The Daily Record, or view the e-Edition online.