Education in the race for Tippecanoe County Sheriff

Education appears to be an early theme of this year's race for Tippecanoe County Sheriff.

Posted: Jul. 6, 2018 6:45 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - Education is the early focus of this year's race for Tippecanoe County Sheriff.

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Jason Dombkowski argues his outside education would bring new, innovative leadership to the department. His newest opponent, Bob Goldsmith thinks any change should come from within.

Other than the lake, the Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Office is where Bob Goldsmith feels most at home. He's worked there for 19 years.

"And to come in and have never worked there, it is eye opening," said Goldsmith. 

That's why he feels the next sheriff should come from within.

"But what I'm learning is, our community is not familiar with the differences between a city agency and a sheriff's department," said Goldsmith. 

Until his recent campaign leave, Jason Dombkowski was the West Lafayette Police Chief for 10 years.

"They're not going to get their own jail, they're not going to get their own courthouse those are our responsibilities, civil process, tax warrants," explained Goldsmith when talking about the differences between the Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Office and the West Lafayette Police Department. 

Dombkowski said he's aware.

"I've spent 25 years preparing for this office, I've studied cutting-edge law enforcement concepts," said Dombkowski. 

He said he has studied those concepts not just in policing but in jail and courthouse management.

"I've talked to Sheriff's across our state," said Dombkowski. "Some of these counties who are getting it right are doing it much differently than Tippecanoe County."

Goldsmith said he knows what the department needs.

"Road, correctional officers, we have to have both, there's a manpower crisis," said Goldsmith. 

He said most people weren't aware the department can only staff about six deputies on the roads per day right now. 

Sheriff Barry Richard stressed the same thing, more manpower. So, News 18 asked how Goldsmith plans to convince the county council for more.

"It's building relationships," said Goldsmith. "And that's what I want to do and that's what I will do."

But Dombkowski thinks he can lead without increasing the budget for road patrol.

"Pair with other agencies, work on task forces, synergy of resources, and solving problems together and not being isolated," said Dombkowski. 

But both candidates agree more resources are needed in the jail.

When you go through our jail for the first time and you realize, well wait a minute, there's one person overseeing 90 people where's the other people? No, this is what we have," said Goldsmith. 

In the coming months, we plan to dig deeper into the specifics of what each candidate looks to do, if elected. We will address manpower, drugs in the jail leadership strategies and more.

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