Candidates for the position of Izard County sheriff in the Democratic primary election are challenger Rick Kimble and incumbent Tate Lawrence. Following are their responses to four questions posed by Areawide Media:
What do you have to offer that your opponent does not?
Kimble: Ten years of experience as a law enforcement officer in Izard County. Graduate of Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy.
Lawrence: I had much rather address what I have to offer without speaking negatively about the opposition. I have a strong managerial base as the result of many years of management leadership experience and education to include a business management degree, a criminal justice degree and many years of progressive management experience. I am active in many civic and community organizations. As the incumbent, I am the candidate with the experience as the sheriff and a track record of drug related arrests -- 250 percent of the previous year number, and the most criminal warrant arrests -- 285 percent of the previous year number.
Is there a particular problem that
county law enforcement needs to focus on?
Kimble: I don't believe there is a particular problem to focus on. I believe that all areas pertaining to law enforcement should be the focus.
Lawrence: The Izard County Sheriff's Department needs to continue with an overall mission of enhancing the quality of life for all the citizens of Izard County, making it a better place to live, work and raise a family. The priorities to accomplish this mission are working against illegal drugs through my "Zero Drug Tolerance" policy, continuing to deal effectively with domestic violence, and working to prevent and solve property crimes.
Are there any areas in the county which you think need special attention from law enforcement?
Kimble: Out in the county away from the bigger towns. Some areas of the county only see a deputy when they call them.
Lawrence: All geographically areas of the county need the service and support of county law enforcement and I will continue to provide countywide service. Particular areas of the county need special attention from time to time, and we have been proactive in meeting these needs and will continue to do so.
How do you plan to combat the illegal use of prescription drugs in the county?
Kimble: In the same aggressive manner as you use to combat illegal drugs. Prescription drugs are sometimes harder to track, but a lot of the same ways apply to both.
Lawrence: First, I believe we have to recognize, which my department has done, that such use is a problem. We have combated this problem through enforcement and education. We have presented educational programs to area students that focus on both illegal drugs and prescription drugs. While we have presented these programs to high school students, we have also presented them to fifth and sixth graders. According to the Criminal Justice Institute's School on Drug Management, of which I am a graduate, the earlier our youth are exposed to this education, the better. As to enforcement, we will continue our "Zero Drug Tolerance" policy and, together with education, we are seeing a significant difference. I will continue to be innovative and provide the leadership to combat the problem.