VIDEO: Candidates for St. Joseph County Sheriff participate in debate
The two candidates for St. Joseph County Sheriff, Republican Paul Jonas and Democrat Bill Redman, participated in a debate Thursday evening on the Indiana University South Bend campus.
Thursday night's debate is sponsored by the American Democracy Project of IU South Bend in partnership with the League of Women Voters of the South Bend Area, IUSB Political Science Club, Science Policy Initiative at Notre Dame and ABC57.
If you were unable to watch the debate live, you can watch it above.
Jonas is a United States Marine veteran and joined the St Joseph County Police Department back in 1984.
He has served in several different roles, including officer and sergeant and has worked in many areas including the jail, patrol, serving warrants and was also a member of the SWAT team.
Redman has worked in law enforcement 24 years. During that time he has been a DARE officer, school resource officer and public information officer.
Currently, he’s a lieutenant for St. Joseph County Police Department.
Both think their experience will serve the county well.
“I think my background speaks for itself. I’ve been a police officer for 24 years. And I was more proactive in terms of trying to keep our citizens up to date on crimes that were being committed so they were better educated on how to protect themselves," Redman said.
“I worked in patrol division for 16 years. Was a shift supervisor on all three shifts, days, afternoons and midnights. The highlight of my career was I was on for three years and I was able to test out for our SWAT team. In turn, I passed all the agility tests, mental tests, and was appointed to the SWAT team," Jonas said.
Both say they have a lot of ideas to improve the department.
"I want to get our guys well-trained. I want to start a drug addiction team and get control of the opioids that are coming into this county. There’s no drug traffic enforcement on the highways that come into South Bend or in St. Joseph County. I think we need to stop it before it gets into this county," Jonas said.
“I just think working with our employees and our staff is important. We got to communicate. We got to organize the department internally a little bit better. And I think by doing that, we’ll mesh together. the communication, I think, needs to be increased in the administration and patrol officers who are out on patrol everyday," Redman said.
Politics aside both men say they’re part of this community, which makes this race beyond their careers - it's personal.
“I want to be more involved in the community, be more active, be more visible. Oftentimes through my campaign trail I’ve heard a lot of people don’t even know who the sheriff is, never seen the sheriff. And I want to change that," Redman said.
“And we have families, you know, I’ve been married 38 years. I have three grandchildren. I live in this community. Anything that happens in this community affects my family as well. So I take it to heart," Jonas said.