CORRECTION: This story has been updated to indicate there are three candidates running for sheriff in Scott County.
SCOTTSBURG, IN (WAVE) - The midterm elections are just days away. Around southern Indiana, voters in many counties will choose new sheriffs.
After Scott County Sheriff Dan McClain was confirmed as a U.S. Marshal, Kenny Hughbanks stepped up to fill the spot. But he’s not planning on keeping the seat.
Two candidates with two different backgrounds are hoping to take over the spot -- Rick Julian, Shawn Mayer and Jerry Goodin.
Rick Julian, a Republican, works as the head mechanic for the Scott County Highway Department. His grandfather and uncle, he said, have served as sheriff for the county before and he believes he’ll have a fresh take on how to improve community safety.
“I come from a very broad background, I’ve worked with all facets of life and all different types of people," Julian said. “I think I’m looking at it from a little different view, I think it’s time to step back and regroup as a community and heal this community by pulling each group in tight and making them feel like they’ve got a part in this solution.”
For nearly 27 years, Democrat Jerry Goodin has served the community as a trooper with the Indiana State Police in the Sellersburg post. He’s responded to natural disasters and served in many roles in the department, working all kinds of cases as an officer.
“I’ve worked literally every crime there is known on the books in the state of Indiana," Goodin said. “I’ve also worked and been involved in investigations of some of the most heinous and brutal crimes we’ve seen here in Indiana...I think my experience with those crimes, knowing how to get there, set up crime scenes, how to start investigating crimes gives me another leg up.”
Shawn Mayer is running as an Independent. Mayer has served in law enforcement for 20 years and been in the business community for 30 years. Mayer currently serves as a lieutenant with the Scott County Sheriff’s Department. He served as a deputy chief under Dan McClain when he was sheriff.
“I am actually certified as a school resource officer," Mayer said. "I’ve been to the administration and supervision sections of the national association of school resource officer classes. I have numerous years of K9 experience, working narcotics detection dogs. I’ve received several awards for distinguished service at a prior department.”
This year, local communities and the county have talked about installing school resource officers (SROs) on school campuses. Julian said all schools need those to protect kids now and down the road.
“Oh, I’m 100 percent behind the resource officers," Julian said. "I may look at them a little different -- number one is protection, but I think outside of that, it builds a rapport with the kids so we can learn what they’ve got going on so we can build a relationship with them where they feel comfortable coming to us and asking for help.”
Goodin agrees SROs need to be on every school campus, but stressed that the sheriff, county and school districts need to put together a larger plan to make schools safer overall.
“Just because you put a school resource officer in a school doesn’t mean it’s going to make the children safe," Goodin said. "Obviously, it’s a step in the right direction and we’re all for that and I’m going to be for that -- but we’re going to come up with a complete plan. We have to have metal detectors, we have to have shatterproof glass, we have to have lockdown doors.”
Mayer said he wants to see an SRO program implemented county-wide. An intensive, year-round program will help to keep kids out of trouble and on a straightened path, Mayer said.
“I want programs that are going to challenge the kids in the summertime,” Mayer said. "I want programs that are going to make them a part of that positive leadership experience. And in turn, I truly believe from what I’ve seen in my years of law enforcement experience, that the children are going to be able to actually turn around and make those better choices.”
Continual drug use and arrests, in combination with an outbreak of HIV in recent years within Scott County, have many concerned about tackling addiction. Both Goodin and Julian said more needs to be done to address the drug problem and help addicts.
“I know what it’s going to take to be successful in that war on drugs. And I’m not going to sit here and say we’re going to eradicate every drug dealer -- it’s never going to be eradicated,” Mayer said. “We are always going to fight that war on drugs. We have to pick and choose our battles and go after the biggest ones we can win, and in turn, it’s going to reduce the problem.”
“We’re going to be eliminating drug dealers, that’s going to be a very top priority that we have," Goodin said. "Not only eliminating drug dealers, but also we’re going to offer help to those addicts that are inside the jail while they’re serving time, to be able to get help with education and job training.”
“We’re going to get (people addicted to drugs) in programs and stuff to get them rehabilitated,” Julian said. “I don’t think we’ve built enough jails or big enough jails to hold all the problems, so we’ve got to get them some help and I think that’s where we’re at in this process. We want to grow off of that and keep building.”
The midterm elections will be held Tuesday, November 6. To find your polling location, click or tap here.