There were a few tense moments during the Taylor County Sheriff Debate that aired Wednesday night on KTXS. The debate was cosponsored by KTXS and the Abilene Reporter-News and featured hopeful Ricky Bishop and Sheriff Les Bruce.
KTXS anchor George Levesque and Sarah Kleiner Varble of the Abilene Reporter-News co-moderated the debate.
In addition to Bruce's announcement he had taken and passed a drug test, the two candidates began by explaining why they chose to run for Taylor County Sheriff in 2012.
"I feel that there were some promises made three years ago that haven't been fully fulfilled," said Bishop, who has been a deputy since 2003.
"The last three and a half years being the sheriff of Taylor County has really been the best portion of my career my entire life. I've worked my entire career to be where I'm at today," Bruce said.
As the night wore on, the candidates started taking small jabs at each other.
"I feel I've got a little bit more to offer to better protect the citizens of the county," said Bishop.
"I feel that some of the things said here tonight I don't know what the basis of some of them are. I'm curious also," Bruce replied.
The two candidates agreed that deputies in Taylor County deserve a pay raise. Bruce said giving one was difficult because of budget restrictions.
Bishop said he planned to take it to the Taylor County Commissioner's Court.
"I haven't heard a pay raise asked for in open court yet for anyone. And I'm going to, along with my staff, we're going to go to those commissioners and fight for a pay raise," Bishop said.
But the debate took a strange turn when Levesque asked Bishop, "Have you done your homework? Do you know what's in the budget for sheriffs office?"
"For this year? No, I don't," Bishop said.
Bishop then turned the focus on what he said Bruce is lacking.
"They don't see the sheriff out in the county. They're not seeing the crime rate drop like they expected it to," said Bishop
When the topic turned to the jails, the candidates again disagreed. There have been three jail escapes in the last four years. Bishop said the reason for the escapes is a lack of training officers what to look for.
"There's a very young staff at the jail. We have 30, 40, 50 year career criminals that are getting over on officers," said Bishop.
"These are mistakes by human beings. These human beings aren't your 19, 21 year old folks. Some of these mistakes are made by five, 10, 12 year employees," Bruce said, disagreeing.
In the end, although Bruce and Bishop disagreed on many of the issues. Both candidates agreed that they wouldn't fire the other if they were elected sheriff.