TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Voters have more information about the two candidates running for Tippecanoe County Sheriff thanks to a public debate hosted Wednesday night. Republican Candidate Jason Dombkowski and Democrat Bob Goldsmith played nice on the Harrison High School Stage, which could be problematic for some voters.
"I thought it was going to be like an actual debate where they both have different views and they were just going to clash," said Halley Deweese, a Jeff High School student. "(It was) hard to set them apart because their views are so similar."
Topics included staffing shortages at the jail, the drug epidemic, their fears as sheriff and transparency within the department.
There are a few differences. Goldsmith is pushing for additional staff in the sheriff's office. Dombkowski said we can work with what we have and, if we were to add staff, he thinks the resources belong in the jail.
Both candidates agreed, the jail needs to be geared more toward rehabilitation.
"I would invest in rehab," said Dombkowski. "And certainly for people addicted to drugs."
"In a sense, it's a glorified timeout for an adult is what it is, but you have to have programs available," said Bob Goldsmith in response.
The questions came from WLFI, the League of Women Voters, students from Harrison and Jefferson High Schools and the Wabash Area Lifetime Learning Association.
"I think it went really well," said Ken Jones from the League of Women Voters. "The candidates were engaged and I thought the questions really represented a good cross-section of the community. I don't think it was 'got ya' questioning. I think it was legitimate and focused on the sheriff's race."
Overall, people we talked to in the audience agreed. It was Jeff High School student Margarita Pagan's first time attending a debate.
"They seemed to be very well organized, and they had a lot of stuff put together," said Pagan "I'll definitely be more involved in going to more political debates and voting for sure because I just turned 18. I will be voting now, so I'm pretty excited about that,"
If you'd like to watch the entire debate, click here.