Sunday, August 24 2014 12:56 AM EDT2014-08-24 04:56:42 GMT
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KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Election Day is Tuesday and Knox County voters have will have their say in what's become a heated race. In the republican primary for sheriff, former Knox County Sheriff's Office employees Sam Hammett and Bobby Waggoner are challenging current Sheriff JJ Jones. There's no democrat running for sheriff, so it's almost surely going to be one of these three.
The Knox County sheriff candidates have been busy with packed schedules just days before the election. Each candidate is confident they are the most qualified to hold the position. 6 News asked each candidate if elected what improvement they would make to the office to help improve safety in the community.
Bobby Waggoner says he is the best qualified candidate to become sheriff because he's a 44 year law enforcement veteran. He says he spent six years working under the current sheriff and believes it's time for a change.
“I think we need to control spending. I think we need to spend wisely and not have six commissioners on the payroll and two lawyers a doctor who makes $92,500 for 1.5 days a week work,” said Waggoner.
Sam Hammett says he has 10 years of law enforcement experience and served as a patrolman for the Knox County Sheriff's Office for eight years. He says if elected, his first priority will be to double the amount of officers on the street in the first six months.
“A lot more crimes can be prevented if we have more officers on the street. Secondly it's going to be a professionally trained police force. It's not going to be what it is now. It's not going to be the cronyism and nepotism that it is now,” said Hammett.
Sheriff JJ Jones is seeking re-election. He has over 30 years of law enforcement leadership and criminal investigation experience. He says as sheriff he has more officers patrolling neighborhoods than ever before and has put prisoners to work. Jones says he has more improvements planned for the future.
“The Safety Center is our number one issue. We have to find a way to divert the people who commit minor crimes that have mental illness or dependency of alcohol or drugs out of our jails. It is too costly to tax payers and these individuals don't get the treatment they need,” said Jones. Video web extra: Sheriff Jimmy "J.J." Jones explains why he should be re-elected
Each candidate is encouraging people to get out and vote on Tuesday.
Hear more from the sheriff's office candidates as they trade accusations and make their case to Knox County voters Sunday at noon on Tennessee this Week.