CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

Opinion

April 29, 2014

EDITORIAL: Learn about candidates for sheriff

Kissing babies and eating pork barbecue at community gatherings are typical delights for political office seekers. Those moments show a glimpse of the candidates’ personalities, but not much else.

The true test of a candidate’s preparedness for holding elected office comes when that person must field questions, without seeing advance copies, in a public setting. That opportunity arrives this evening when the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce and The Cullman Times host a forum for the three candidates seeking the office of sheriff.

Candidates scheduled to attend the forum include Tim Creel, Matt Gentry and incumbent sheriff Mike Rainey.

Voters who choose to attend the forum, which will be at the chamber of commerce at 5 p.m., can expect to hear questions that are specific concerning some issues as well as philosophical about the role of a sheriff.

Any candidate should be willing to answer questions without rehearsal. After all, real-life situations don’t appear with whispered warnings or heralded declarations or notifications. These candidates should be quick thinkers and well versed in the procedures and policies or directing a large law enforcement agency.

A political forum typically should pressure candidates to put forth their best thinking and their best talking points. The important role of sheriff determines a lot concerning a community’s quality of life. How a sheriff handles investigations and builds cases against criminals determines success or failure for prosecutors in the court system.

Cullman County, like other counties across the state, has issues with drugs, the threat of new drugs arriving, domestic and child abuse, and adequate use of available personnel. How these candidates propose to address these issues is important to everyone. And keeping the public informed about crime investigations and drug trends is vital to maintaining a citizenry that supports law enforcement.

The past political forums hosted by the chamber and The Times have featured some revealing moments involving candidates because of the quality of questions. Don’t expect tonight’s effort to be any different. Make plans to learn about the candidates for one of the county’s most important offices. Your knowledge and perception of the candidates are both key ingredients to have before voting.

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