The candidates for the Ulster County sheriff's race have varying opinions on how to handle the important topics in the county. For both the race and the job, these candidates make their case to Spectrum News.
Ulster County Sheriff Paul Van-Blarcum, puts value on endorsements from numerous law enforcement agencies.
"These people are professionals. If they didn't think you were doing a good job, they wouldn't endorse you," said Van-Blarcum, incumbent candidate for Ulster County sheriff's race.
His challenger in the race, former marine and state trooper Juan Figueroa, puts value in excitement among democrats and the fact that he's an outsider.
"I'd bring a completely differenty perspective to law enforcement and the office," said Figueroa.
Both candidates answered similarly on the opioid addiction epidemic, and both believed in diversion programs to keep addicts with minor offenses out of jail.
Additionally, they remained skeptical of any program in the jail that would involve the opioid-blocking medication suboxone.
"What if it gets into the wrong hands? There's all kinds of things that have to be looked at first before we go down that road," said Figueroa.
His challenger could not agree more.
"The number one drug attempted to get smuggled in here is suboxone," said Van-Blarcum.
When asked how the department would cooperate with ICE, Van-Blarcum said sharing information was essential. Figueroa's response was similar, except he would not turn over information on non-violent immigrants in the interest of public safety.
"If they are a witness to a homicide or if they are going to testify in a big burglary case, [but] they don't want to now because they are afraid [of deportation], that's a public safety issue," said Figueroa.
The candidates were also questioned on diversity within the department. Out of a staff of 300, the sheriff said just five or six spoke spanish.
Neither candidate said how many more the department required, only that they thought that amount to be way too low, and more creative ideas to diversify the department were needed.
Figueroa beat Van-Blarcum for the Ulster Democratic Committee's endorsement in May, and won the democratic primary in September.
Van-Blarcum is going to be on the November ballot as a candidate for the Republican and reform parties.