Hamilton County Sheriff candidates gear up for August 2nd election
Sheriff Jim Hammond wants to keep his job. His opponent is Victor Miller, a Homicide Unit Supervisor with the Chattanooga Police Department. Both have deep backgrounds in law enforcement, but their perspectives are different.
The Hamilton County May Primary Election is a little over a month away .Each of the candidates for Hamilton County Sheriff are running unopposed in the May 1st primary.
Sheriff Jim Hammond, is a Republican.. His opponent in the August 2nd county general election is Democrat Victor Miller, a Homicide Unit Supervisor with the Chattanooga Police Department. Both have deep backgrounds in law enforcement, but their perspectives are different.
On Monday, the National Coalition of 100 Black Women and the League of Women Voters led a discussion on several topics; including the potential arming of teachers. Miller is against that. He says he wants to put an SRO in every Hamilton County school.
"I heard many times teachers telling me they did not want to be armed that they wanted to teach in that’s what they went to school for they want to teach and not be armed so I’m going to agree with them on that," said Miller.
Hammond was not at the forum, but we caught up with him to get his perspective.
"If I had my preference I would have an SRO at every school, but that’s extremely expensive. I don’t know that the taxpayers can afford that."
Crime and the county's jails were another topic. Right now, Silverdale Detention Center is privately owned.
"Currently Silverdale jail is privately run by Core Civic and they profit every month off of our inmates," said Miller.
Miller wants to change that; adding Core Civic employees to the Hamilton County jail staff. But Hammond believes in the current system.
"It has been shown to work across the country. I’m not willing to sacrifice the jobs of the men and women who already work for the county and we would not do that. If we ever considered those people would remain grandfathered in," said Hammond.
Despite some differences, each candidate says he is capable of making Hamilton County a better place to live, work, and visit.
"My plan to increase safety for our community includes a proactive forward thinking policing strategy. That includes using data and using intelligence and community oriented policing in order to solve our problems. I’ve answered 911 calls. I’ve investigated crimes from thefts to homicides. I've supervised investigations, so I have that first hand experience, " said Miller.
"Not everybody can be a sheriff. I think you’ve got to have the ability to go out there and work with business community. I think I'm probably the most experienced candidate. I've been doing this a long time. I understand the issues. I think the people are comfortable with me and they ultimately will decide who is going to be sheriff," said Hammond.
The deadline to register to vote is April 2.