LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Wednesday night was a time to meet the candidates who are up for election this year in Tippecanoe County. Most of the candidates talked about their backgrounds and experience. However, it was after the event was over where it got heated as the Republican candidates for sheriff exchanged some words right in front of our camera.
Candidate, after candidate, after candidate took the podium Wednesday night at the Tippecanoe County Farm Bureau’s Meet the Candidates event.
“The right to vote is one of our most important rights. If you’re an uninformed voter, you can’t make an intelligent decision,” said local resident Ila Solomon.
Solomon was there to learn more about all the candidates up for election this year. Candidates were given two minutes to explain more about themselves. If they went over as their punishment, moderator and entomologist Tom Turpin made the candidates spit crickets.
Most of the candidates talked about their experience, background and what needs to be done in office. The topics included agriculture, finances and education.
However, Republican sheriff’s candidates Dave Heath and Barry Richard heated up the podium over the topic of substations for county deputies.
Richard favors creating substations for county deputies because he believes it will improve response times, but Heath was the first person to bring up the subject Wednesday night.
That led to a heated exchange afterwards that lasted for more than a minute right in front of a News 18 camera.
“There’s a difference between what you’re going to do and what I’m going to do. I’m not going to do what you’re going to do,” said Heath.
“Right, but you could just say, ‘Okay, I’m not going to have substations.’ You didn’t have to say, ‘My opponent wants substations,'” fired back Richard.
Richard said he was caught off guard when Heath started his two minutes by attacking Richard’s stance on the substations.
“It could be areas that when you, the citizen of our county, need a response time quickly, the deputy’s going to already be in that area. Why have them just driving around meaninglessly?” said Richard in an interview with News 18.
“The county sheriff’s department has 466 square miles with 47 people. They don’t have time to sit a substation. They need to be patrolling,” said Heath.
“I was prepared to give my assets, my feelings, my personal beliefs of what my vision, energy, desire, compassion is to serve the community as I have my whole life. And, it was my opponent who initiated specific incidents that I replied to,” said Richard.
“He comes from a city agency. I come from a county agency. His experience in police management is not the same, there isn’t any,” said Heath.
In the end, Heath and Richard said they agree to disagree.
Early voting for May’s primary begins April 8.