Benton County Candidates Debate Ahead Of Sheriff Election

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BENTON COUNTY (KFSM) -- Republican Shawn Holloway and Independent Glenn Latham, who are running for Benton County sheriff, met at Northwest Arkansas Community College Monday (Oct. 3) for a debate about how they are going to address the concerns of the community.

According to Latham, most voters are concerned about increased patrol in rural areas.

“All the people I have talked to in the county have not seen a patrol car. If they have seen a patrol car, it was just flying past their house,” Latham said.

But Holloway said the sheriff's office addressed those concerns long ago.

“That is absolutely not true. We had more deputies in the unincorporated area than Benton County has ever seen,” Holloway said. “We get regular correspondence on phone, email or Facebook pages, thanking us for seeing the deputies out in the county.”

Holloway, who was hired under interim sheriff Meyer Gilbert, said he already seen positive change under the new leadership.

“The work that we have done in the last five months at the sheriff’s department speaks volumes of what everyone at the department stands for, and what I stand for,” Holloway said. “We had a very good leadership team there, that I plan on keeping in place if elected. I see really good things for the county.”

Latham said Gilbert's hiring of Holloway was concerning, but not enough to impact his campaign.

“It was probably a little unethical for the interim sheriff to hire a candidate,” Latham said. “He even said during his interview process with the Quorum Court that he was going to hire the sheriff-elect.”

During the hour-long debate, the Arkansas State Police investigation into Latham was not brought up. Latham said the topic is irrelevant.

“You have to stick to the topics. No one cares about this investigation, or that investigation. They care about what your are going to do for the county, and they care about what you are going to do for them as a citizen, and as a resident of the unincorporated area, or even the people in the cities,” Latham said. “So, it is important that that is what you focus on.”

Holloway said he agreed and wanted the voters to choose a candidate based on the substance of their proposals.

“We will let the process work itself out one way or another, he can address his answers for that,” Holloway said.