NAACP hosts Vanderburgh Co. candidate forum

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Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 3:47 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 6, 2022 at 10:56 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - On Thursday, the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People hosted a candidate forum for candidates running for Vanderburgh County Sheriff and Prosecutor.

Candidates had two minutes to lay out their views.

Sheriff Candidate Noah Robinson was up first and highlighted what he thinks residents need from their sheriff and county jail.

“What I understand that they need is to feel safe in their own homes, and that the sheriff’s office is there to protect them,” he said. “And to know that if their son or daughter or grandson or granddaughter gets arrested, that that jail is not going to just house them, but leave them better off than they were when they came in.”

His opponent Jeff Hales did not show up.

Prosecutor candidate Jon Schaeffer was up next and highlighted plans to divert non-violent criminals.

“When someone is involved in the justice system, it becomes very difficult to extract themselves,” he said. “It becomes sort of a cycle, so I think that diversion is important.”

His opponent, Diana Moers, said that she spent time talking to the community about what they feel is important.

“The same thing [I hear] over and over is keeping violent offenders incarcerated, identifying the most violent offenders, and getting those that can get help, help.” she said.

With community questions opening up, some focus was placed on opioids and how they would attack the issue.

Schaeffer placed an emphasis on cutting drug supplies off.

“[Charges of] dealing resulting in death is a tool, but it’s a reactionary tool,” he explained. “Someone’s already died. So the whole point is to work with the DEA and with the US Attorney’s office to interdict those drugs.”

Moers emphasized harsher sentences.

“We need to be ready with criminal histories and make sure we send the message to those who want to traffic opioids that you should not do that and be caught in Vanderburgh County,” she said.

In their closing statements, each candidate discussed their prior experience; Moers has worked at the state attorney general’s office, while Schaeffer has been a public defender.

“I’m the only candidate that has prosecuted any cases,” Moers said. “When you come to vote on election day, you’ll have a decision to make: Who do you want to be the prosecutor? A prosecutor or the public defender?”

“Being the public defender is not disparaging,” Schaeffer said. “I’m proud of my job. I’m proud of where I work, and I think that puts me in a position best suited to take this prosecutor’s office forward for the next four years.”

Election day is Nov. 8. The last day to register to vote is Oct. 11.