Coffee County Sheriff Candidates face off

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On June 1st, residents of Coffee County will be choosing their sheriff.

News 4 continues our special series by introducing the two republican candidates for the position.

The winner of the republican nomination in Coffee County will face no opposition after the primary for sheriff.

Candidate Lance Tindol and incumbent Sheriff Dave Sutton discuss the issues in "Critical Choices."

Both candidates point to their experience as the reason they're most qualified for the job.

"A sheriff first and foremost must be an administrator. He must have organizational skills and he must have budgetary skills and to the best of my knowledge my opponent Mr. Tindol has not been an administrator in any job or any position," says Sutton.

"My 14 years of everyday experience working here in Coffee County law enforcement on the judicial side of working with the judges and the circuit judges has given me the experience right here in Coffee County to be able to work with all agencies," says Tindol.

Tindol says Coffee County currently doesn't have a deputy on duty every hour of the day and that's one of the first things he'd change.

"If a crime is committed after 2 a.m. in the morning it's just not right to summons a deputy out of the bed to come answer your crime," says Tindol.

"We do not have that because of the shortage of manpower and the budget money to do this, however I’ll tell you this to all the citizens of Coffee County, in three and a half years we have never missed a call. No one has ever been harmed or injured that we didn't get there in time to take care of their needs," says Sutton.

With county budgets growing tighter Sutton says he knows firsthand how to make the difficult decision of where to cut.

"We cut back on training, that's something you never want to have to cut back on, but we did cut back on training. We cut back on our office supplies, we cut back on any building supplies and we did cut back some in our fuel," says Sutton.

Tindol says he has ideas of his own to save money.

"Instead of sending our deputies and our guys men and women out of state to other states to get training, what we should do to save money is we need to start training within the department," says Tindol, "it will save us money in training and it will build a better working relationship with other law enforcement agencies," says Tindol.

Both agree that illegal drugs require a strong fight. Sutton says his record speaks for itself.

"885 drug arrests in my three and a half years here and nearly 100 meth labs and I know we did 30 meth labs alone last year and you know we've got to continue to focus on this because drugs cause all kinds of criminal activities," says Sutton.

"We’ve got to fight it with trained and experienced officers. If we don't, we're running in circles. Again, we're wasting the tax payers’ money when we're putting these cases in court and they're getting thrown out,” says Tindol.

Both candidates say solving any overcrowding issues would be resolved by keeping the public and the county commission informed if there's a need for additional facilities.

Click below for the uncut videos of the entire interviews with each candidate.
click here for full interviews