By Julie Johansen
The four candidates for sheriff in Emery County were hosted by KOAL in a Meet the Candidate night on Tuesday evening. The event took place at the Little Theatre in the Spartan Center at Emery High School.
Three write-in candidates, Keaton Cowley, Boe Minchey and Shaun Bell, and primary election winner Tyson Huntington were introduced by Jordan Buscarini to the audience. As the broadcast began, each candidate was given two minutes to introduce themselves.
All four of the men are Emery County natives, having lived here for most of their lives, except for college or a short employment elsewhere. They have all be in law enforcement for several years.
Candidate Minchey is a trooper with Utah Highway Patrol and the other three are members of the Emery County Sheriff’s Office. Minchey stressed morals, ethics and the legally correct way to do things. “An honest day pay for an honest day’s work” was his byword.
Bell has been with the sheriff’s office since 1996. In recent years, he has worked with the schools, teaching at Emery High School. His platform seemed to be, “working on corrections, not just housing, but teaching to become beneficial citizens.”
Cowley is a sergeant in the office and trains the new deputies. “Doing it the right way for the right reason,” was Cowley’s plea.
Huntington stated, “I love being a cop.” He has been with the department since 2009 and has investigated many crimes in his role as a detective.
Buscarini asked several questions, giving each candidate a chance to respond and then a 60-second rebuttal time. Questions included why they chose to run or be a write-in candidate. For most of the candidates, the answer included the timing of the elections and their desire to serve the citizens of Emery County.
Another question was about patrolling the large amount of public land in Emery County and working with government officials to protect those lands and the people using them. It was the consensus of all candidates that governmental law enforcement officers need support and help. Each candidate pledged their concern and protection for these areas, especially with the increased number of visitors on public lands.
Another question regarded the recruitment and retainment of officers to the sheriff’s office. The importance of a unified team effort and creating a family of officers was discussed by all. Funding was a concern for all of the candidates as well. Most of the candidates felt that a mission statement and goals were also important.
School safety is a hot topic, and the candidates were asked what they would do to improve safety in Emery County schools. Each candidate had definite answer. Cowley said, ”Better training for everyone. Be in the schools. Kids and teachers need to be prepared.”
Huntington suggested that school resource officers need to be at schools to assist the teachers. Minchey also felt that more training was needed and that teachers need to be armed at school, but must be trained to do this, and said kids first. Bell spoke about his experience in school as a resource officer and teacher. Drills and training are his goals.
The final question was “Why should we vote for you?” Cowley responded, “Because of my love for law enforcement and my reputation at the sheriff’s office. I want to leave a positive impact there.”
Huntington has a desire to help deputies be the best they can be. Minchey said he is not doing it for the money, but doing it for the love of the county.
Bell remarked that it was never his goal to be the sheriff, but for some reason this is what he needs to do, be out in the community and he is “that guy.”
Buscarini concluded the evening by thanking all four gentlemen for their participation.