Democratic candidate for Vanderburgh Co. Sheriff to be determined Tuesday

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Published: May. 2, 2022 at 5:03 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Tuesday’s primary will determine the Democratic candidate for Vanderburgh County Sheriff.

Both candidates tell us they focus on things like cutting out arrests for marijuana possession and both have broader goals to reform criminal justice.

Both Noah Robinson and Jason Ashworth said they’re focused on crime prevention.

Though their policies have some overlapping ideas, their main goals are different.

Noah Robinson explained how a Sheriff’s Office under his command would focus on community outreach.

“You’re going to see a sheriff’s office that’s much more neighborhood-centric in the way we do patrol,” he explained. “Folks can actually know the deputy who’s responding to their home. Have their deputy’s phone number in a particular neighborhood.”

Jason Ashworth told 14 News that he would focus on outreach toward children.

“Schools, kids will certainly be our top priority,” he said. “Making sure we get with kids and get in our schools and making sure that we get those connections early on and certainly keep them out of the line of crime.”

In approaching crime, Ashworth and Robinson described how they want to approach a recent rise in crime.

Ashworth highlighted local cooperation.

“[We’ll address] the gun violence that we have here, working with Chief Bolin in our Police Department, and making sure that we work together with them to make sure that we see an improvement in that in the years to come,” he said.

Robinson said that he wants to work closely with federal agencies.

“The sheriff I think has a role to play in suppressing [gun violence]. I want our sheriff deputies some of them to be assigned to the ATF gun task force. I want to do more to stop the flow of illegal guns into the community,” he said.

Both candidates also acknowledged the continuing role of law enforcement and how they’ll approach community engagement.

Robinson focused again on neighborhood familiarity.

“I think it’s important going forward to build those relationships so that people trust the police again,” Robinson said. “They do now, but not as well as the did twenty years ago. I want to reverse that trend. I’m tired of going on YouTube and seeing officers behaving badly and then staining the entire profession that I love.”

Ashworth explained how he’d broaden children’s exposure to law enforcement.

“[I will] never say the system is broken,” Ashworth said. “It’s not. There’s certainly things we’ll do differently... We’re going to change our school program a little bit, we’re going to add to that, have some more diversity with that so we can connect with kids in our schools. Kids in the classrooms who see somebody or somebody in uniform who looks more like them.”

Both officers have taken approaches focused on reforming criminal justice. In particular, each has said they don’t want to arrest anyone for marijuana possession.

Polls open at 6 a.m.

Click here for a list of voting centers in Vanderburgh County.

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