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Sheriff's Candidates: Community Policing and Transparency

Both candidates for Tippecanoe County Sheriff say more community policing and transparency is needed.

Posted: Aug 31, 2018 4:39 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) —Democrat Bob Goldsmith held a news conference about community policing and transparency Friday.

He stood outside the West Lafayette Public Library explaining how he plans to improve those two areas at the sheriff's office. 

Goldsmith also released a video about it on Facebook. 

He wants deputies to stop by events like baseball games, garage sales and lemonade stands.

"That's what we should be doing," said Goldsmith. "Those are interactions that are positive that our officers can make with the community and break down these walls, open up dialogue, and then we can start learning about our community."

Republican Jason Dombkowski said he already implemented these measures at the West Lafayette Police Department.

"The ten years that I've been police chief, we've adopted that model," said Dombkowski. "One success I'll point to is we've lowered our alcohol arrests on game weekends by engaging more and more with our public by 80 percent."

Dombkowski also noted community policing and programs are listed in his Five Point Plan for Sheriff. 

Both candidates agree it would be a good idea to appoint a public information officer at the sheriff's office. They both said there is a need to improve the office's relationship with the media and the public. 

"I need to be held accountable. I'm not above anyone," said Goldsmith. "The 176,000 people that live here, they can call me out on it. I will deliver on what I say I'm going to do."

Dombkowski said he's proud of the way the West Lafayette Police Department communicates with the community and press. 

"Returning phone calls and making sure that we are being held accountable," said Dombkowski. "Communicating, really, it's just about communication."

Goldsmith said he knows he didn't invent the wheel on these topics. 

"I have said that you can line up 20 cops and we all have the same ideas," said Goldsmith. "Some explain how they are going to do things and some don’t. What the community and police officers have to decide is who is the most approachable, who has the best character, who do you trust, who do you believe will get it done?"

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