GEARY COUNTY, Kan. (WIBW -- The race for the next sheriff in Geary County is pitting two current members of the department against one another.
Corporal Anthony Ricks is the Democratic candidate. Ricks is retired Navy and a detective who’s been with the department for 6.5 years.
"We have become detached from the citizens that we serve here in Geary County. I want to be able to get back out there," he told WIBW. He says every 7 hours, a citizen in Geary County falls victim to a crime.
Ricks wants to implement a mentorship program for local youth and revitalize the neighborhood watch program.
"Without the community’s involvement when a crime happens, we’re stuck. We need their help, their participation and if they don’t trust us or they don’t know us, it makes our job just a little harder," Ricks said.
"I have people from attorneys to architects to soldiers to the Masons who have volunteered their time already to help me get this mentorship going. We want to get out and reach our kids because they are our future," he added.
Ricks says the VFW and NAACP are backing him in the election.
He told 13 News that he also wants to try to cut costs in the department, particularly on the gas used by patrol cars.
"I see ways we can make it better, more efficient without reducing services to our citizens," he said.
Running on the Republican ticket is Major Tony Wolf, a department administrator who has served more than 16 years with the agency. Wolf has the support of current sheriff Jim Jensen who is retiring and the two sheriffs who went before him.
"Running for sheriff has been a lifelong goal for me. I know what needs to be done and I know what goes on within this department and the needs of this department and the community," he said.
Wolf wants to increase deputies' training. The state statute requires deputies to have 40 hours a year of training. Wolf would like to increase that by 20 hours, spreading the hours out and working it into their schedules so as not to create overtime. He says the additional training will allow employees to learn case law, legislative updates and safety measures.
"Officer safety in this realm of work is extremely important. And not only out on the street but it also involves in the jail too," Wolf said.
He also wants to implement a joint task force with the Junction City Police Department and Grandview Plaza Police Department to combat cyber crimes.
"It's the fastest growing realm of crime in the United States right now. When you think of cyber crimes, you think of identity thefts and things like that. That’s not the only thing I’m looking for here. What I’m also looking for here is child pornography and exploitation of children on the internet. In this day and age, I hate to have to say but it does happen and I want to be able to combat that. I don’t want that going on in Geary County," he added.
Both candidates hoping citizens come out and cast their vote for their next sheriff.