Sebastian County Sheriff Candidates Debate

FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- The Sebastian County Republican Committee brought together the three sheriff candidates for a debate, the first time the three have been in the same room voicing their opinions to the public.

Republican candidates Jarrard Copeland, Randy McFadden and Hobe Runion are the three candidates running for the sheriff position.

One topic of the debate was changes the candidates think need to be made to the sheriff's office.

"Better community relations with our citizens," Copeland said. "I wanna work with the citizens of Sebastian County. This job is one that requires the assistance and partnership with the citizens."

The candidates were also asked what they think about school safety.

"I think being prepared instead of saying, 'I wasn't ready' or 'we didn't practice that,' McFadden said. "I think it's something we shouldn't be."

Moderator, Gunner DeLay, also asked if elected, what the candidates would do to address the opioid issue in the county.

"Education and teaching the people what not to take, the doctor's what not to perscribe," Runion said. "I think legislation is a big part of it. I think we have to have treatment. We have to have treatment available."

Overall, all three men said they think the debate went well.

"I think there were some tough questions and I think we all addressed them," Runion said. "I think based upon the answers and the questions, you can tell thought who has the experience and and who the next sheriff of Sebastian County should be"

"I think the citizens have a choice to make and I think we all bring something to the table and I was just happy that everyone could hear our different points of view and skill level," McFadden said.

"People may be looking for a little more mudslinging and that type of thing, but I don't have anything negative to say about either one of those guys. I have a tremendous amount of respect for both of them and I consider it a big honor to be in this group running for sheriff," Copeland said.

Since all three candidates in the running are Republican, whoever wins the primary election on May 22 will take the seat.

More debates are to come from the Sebastian County Republican Committee including candidate debates from those running for State Senate and State Representative.