By Shawn Nowlin, firstname.lastname@example.org
The responsibilities of a City Sheriff are plentiful. In addition to providing general law enforcement protection, the appointed individual is also responsible for serving criminal and civil warrants, conducting criminal investigations and much more.
Local voters had a chance to hear directly from the three candidates vying to become the next Salem Sheriff on October 5 when the Salem Kiwanis Club hosted a forum in the Civic Center’s ballroom. Chris Shelor, Sheriff April Staton and Richard Goodman were all given a platform to make it abundantly clear where they stood on a variety of issues.
The forum began at noon and lasted for roughly 75 minutes. Per recommendations from the CDC, attendees were encouraged to wear masks. Each candidate had five minutes for an opening speech and two minutes for a closing statement. Questions that moderator Paul Dodson asked broached such topics as eviction, marijuana use, human resource matters, community safety, COVID-19 and more.
Incumbent Sheriff April Staton has held the position since 2017. On the topic of experience, she feels that she is the most qualified.
“Eighteen of the last 20 years, I’ve been at the Salem Sheriff’s Office. I’ve served as a Deputy Sheriff, a Master Deputy, Frontline Supervisor and Second Command at the office as Chief Deputy,” she said. “Throughout my 18-year career, 13 of those years have been supervising people. Seven of those years have been preparation and management of the office budget. We are doing very well at the Sheriff’s office, and it is because of this that I ask for your support in this election.”
Because of his nearly three decades of experience in all areas of law enforcement, Goodman strongly feels that he is the best candidate to lead the Sheriff’s Office.
“I have served in administration roles, handled budgets, worked patrols (day and nights), fought individuals in the streets and in jail. I have had to make arrests, train officers in the academy, deliver death notifications and much more. I am truly an all-around law enforcement officer,” he previously told the Salem Times Register.
Shelor, a 2000 graduate of Salem High School, was named Salem’s 2015 Police Officer of the Year. When it comes to leading personnel, he believes that it starts from the bottom. “Every time that a deputy or officer is sent to handle a situation, you are leading by example. You set the standards for your superiors. I was a leader with the Salem Sheriff’s Office when I was there. I was given the rank of Master Deputy that I achieved and earned. I also assisted with field training for the younger deputies,” he said.
The general election will take place on November 2 and ballots have already been mailed to registered Salem voters. While they clearly have some differences, all three candidates note that the community should have the final word on who should serve as City Sheriff for the next four years.