Washington County's "Top Cop"

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The Washington County Primary is Tuesday, but at least two races could decide the office holders for next year because while there are two republicans running for each office, they have no democratic opposition.

Bob Schlicher, who has been sheriff for more than a decade, is stepping down at the end of this year. The two men who want to replace him both have ties to the Sheriff's Department.

Current Chief Deputy Larry Mincks speaks of his 30 years of law enforcement at both the local and federal level.

"The sheriff is an administrator," says Mincks, "and while he needs experience in law enforcement, there's also a lot of budgetary responsibilities."

Ed Moon was a long-time deputy with the Sheriff's Department until last year.

"As I got older," says Moon, "my ideas have changed; my knowledge of the business has changed."

The Sheriff's Department in recent years has been dealing with reduced revenues, but the number of crimes its dealing with hasn't decreased. One it continues to deal with is crimes related to drugs.

The two candidates disagree on whether more law enforcement cooperation or more deputies is a better way to combat the spread of drugs.

"Every program we have," says Mincks, "I'd like to take a look at streamlining it to save the taxpayers money. I don't think the answer is having more people."

"When you have a higher ratio of administration to deputies," Moon argues, "it cuts down on how many deputies can be working drugs."

Mincks says the department is working to bolster a multi-jurisdictional drug task force established some years ago.