Oklahoma County Sheriff candidates come face-to-face to discuss law enforcement issues voters are concerned about

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — The two candidates for Oklahoma Country Sheriff faced each other during a live Conversation with the Candidates, answering questions from KFOR viewers and local students about issues affecting the lives of local residents.

The two candidates on the ballot are Republican Tommie Johnson III and Democrat Wayland Cubit.
Voters will decide on Nov 3, who will be the next sheriff and it’ll make history because no matter who wins he will be the first Black sheriff in Oklahoma County.

Ali Meyer and Kent Ogle moderated the live discussion from the auditorium of Douglass High School.

Johnson, who defeated current sheriff P.D. Taylor in a runoff primary race in August, began his Law Enforcement career with the University of Oklahoma Police Department. In 2015 he joined the Norman Police Department, where he is currently a Master Police Officer.

Johnson testified before a Capitol committee in support of safety legislation and participated in a safety video for the State Department of Education. He volunteers as the Republican Party Chairman for his Precinct, a youth sports coach and mentor for at risk youth in local Elementary schools.

Cubit won the Democratic nomination in June in his primary race against Virgil L. Green Sr. He is a 21-year veteran of the Oklahoma City Police Department and has 24 years of combined law enforcement experience.

Cubit established OKCPD’s Family Awareness and Community Teamwork Unit (F.A.C.T.), a youth outreach program that focuses on mentorship, building character and empowering at-risk youth, according to a news release issued by his campaign in January.

Each candidate answered moderator, viewer and Douglas High School student questions concerning an array of important issues.

Those questions are as follows, highlighted in bold, and the responses from Cubit and Johnson are in the videos that follow each question.

KFOR viewer Kathy Larson asked, “What one qualification do you possess over your opponent that makes you the better candidate for our sheriff?”

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If you are elected sheriff, how do you see your role as one of the nine members of the newly formed Jail Trust?

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Which ever candidate is elected will become the first African American sheriff for Oklahoma County. In a time of social unrest, we know that’s a factor. How do you think that impacts your role as a leader in the Oklahoma County community?

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Douglass High School student Lejend Collins asked Cubit and Johnson how they as black male law enforcement officers and community leaders ensure safety in the community as well as exercise consistency and diplomacy.

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What is your opinion of State Question 805, which, if passed, would prohibit a person’s former non-violent felony convictions from being used to enhance the person’s sentence?

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What changes need to be done within the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Department to address social unrest regarding law enforcement?

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A KFOR viewer sent in the following question: Currently, on average, there are only three patrol deputies for all of Oklahoma County. One in the Deer Creek area, which is approximately 40 square miles, one in the metro area and one in Eastern Oklahoma County. Does either candidate plan to increase patrol deputies, specifically in the unincorporated areas of Oklahoma County?

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Douglass High School student Lawrence Brown asked why he, a young African American, is viewed by law enforcement officers as a threat.

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KFOR viewer Bob McCoy asked, “What is your position on so-called ‘no-knock warrants’?”

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After all the questions were asked, each candidate delivered a final statement on why he wants to be Oklahoma County Sheriff.

Johnson’s final statement:

Cubit’s final statement:

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Johnson and Cubit vie for the position of sheriff following a tumultuous year for the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office, which saw a heated feud between Taylor and County Commissioner Kevin Calvey over staffing and operation of the Oklahoma County Detention Center.

Taylor demanded that the Jail Trust take over the jail from the Sheriff’s Office, less than six months after the trust was formed.

Sheriff’s Office officials announced on June 29 that the Sheriff’s Office moved out of the Oklahoma County Detention Center and that services are now available at the Krowse Building, located at 2101 N.E. 36th St.

The Sheriff’s Office officially handed over responsibility for the jail to the Oklahoma County Jail Trust on July 1.

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