Spencer County Sheriff candidates discuss platforms

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Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 10:38 PM CDT
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SPENCER CO., Ind. (WFIE) - As part of our ongoing election coverage, 14 News sat down with Spencer County Sheriff candidates Kelli Reinke and Sherri Heichelbech.

The race is the only sheriff race in the Tri-State where both candidates are women. This comes after Reinke made history as the first woman elected as sheriff in Spencer County.

Sherri Heichelbech is a Republican candidate challenging incumbent and Democrat, Reinke.

As candidates, Heichelbech said her strength lies in her experience as a State Trooper, while Reinke said the last three-plus years of her tenure showed her commitment to Spencer County.

“As a sheriff’s candidate, the training experience that I’ve got from state police is cutting edge,” said Heichelbech. “I’ve been sent all over the country to get different trainings for different avenues. I’m currently on the Women Law Enforcement Executive board.”

“I try to attend church events and fall festivals or different events supporting our fire departments just to be accessible within the community and form that bond,” Reinke said. “I think I’ve done that.”

Both candidates discussed deputy retention and their own leadership styles.

Heichelbech talked about positive reinforcement, and Reinke discussed leading by example.

“Pay is always an issue, but pay is not the number one issue in retention,” said Heichelbech. “A lot of times the retention comes down to someone’s value. If you feel value in the job you did, then you’re more apt to stay with that employer if you feel respected.”

“They’ll see me out working, they’ll see me out making traffic stops and covering the roads because we have to do it,” said Reinke. “My idea of a leader is not only doing the administration part but helping out doing whatever I can.”

They both acknowledged that two women leading the race for a sheriff’s office is somewhat uncommon.

Both said they’re pleased that the county is supportive of women in leadership roles.

“I think we should always lift each other up, and evidently I’ve done something right the last four years so you know we’re face to face with another female as an opponent in this race,” said Reinke.

“Our county and our citizens should be proud that they’ve produced such strong confident and educated women that they’re willing to take on this job,” said Heichelbech.

Both candidates said one of their main focuses is having close connections to the general public.