4 law enforcement veterans seek election as next Iron County Sheriff

File photo of Iron County Sheriff's Office, Cedar City, Utah, April 15, 2015 | Photo by Devan Chavez, St. George News / Cedar City News

IRON COUNTY — Four candidates with extensive law enforcement backgrounds are each touting their experience and leadership abilities in a bid to become the next elected Iron County Sheriff.

The four candidates for sheriff running in this month’s Republican primary race are, in order of their appearance on the ballot, Kenneth Carpenter, Caleb Anderson, Del Schlosser and David Evans. Each is seeking to fill the seat being vacated by longtime Iron County Sheriff Mark Gower, who announced earlier this year he wouldn’t seek re-election.

Read more: Iron County GOP candidates taking interest in sheriff, other ’18 races

At the county GOP convention in April, Carpenter secured the party’s official nomination by receiving just over 60 percent of the delegate votes, but each of the other three candidates had gathered enough voter signatures to also appear on the primary ballot.

Three of the four candidates took part in a moderated debate Thursday night at Cedar North Elementary, with only Anderson being absent, as he had to work that evening.

Del Schlosser, candidate for Iron County Sheriff, speaks during debate at Cedar North Elementary School, Cedar City Utah, May 31, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News/Cedar City News

Schlosser is a veteran of the Iron County Sheriff’s Office, having worked there more than 20 years. He is currently lieutenant and second in command to Gower, and Schlosser said his extensive in-department experience gives him an edge over his opponents.

Nevertheless, Schlosser also said he’s prepared to lead the sheriff’s office in a new direction even as Iron County’s population continues to grow.

“As a sheriff, you have to be able to adapt to changes,” Schlosser said.

Carpenter, who is currently the police chief of Parowan and commander of the Iron Metro SWAT team, also cited his extensive background in law enforcement and military, which includes 20 years with the U.S. Marine Corps and seven years with Cedar City Police Department.

Ken Carpenter, candidate for Iron County Sheriff, speaks during debate at Cedar North Elementary School, Cedar City Utah, May 31, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News/Cedar City News

“I bring great things to the table,” Carpenter said, citing his emphasis on integrity, strong positive leadership and innovation. “One of the things that’s been a hallmark of my career is building relationships.”

Carpenter said if elected he would work to enhance the presence of the sheriff’s office in smaller outlying communities within the county.

“A lot of areas feel like they’re being neglected,” he said.

Evans, a 16-year veteran of the Cedar City Police Department, has fulfilled several roles and responsibilities, including as sergeant of the investigations division and as commander of a tri-county drug task force.

Evans said being a leader involves more than simply being promoted into a position.

David Evans, candidate for Iron County Sheriff, speaks during debate at Cedar North Elementary School, Cedar City Utah, May 31, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News/Cedar City News

“I am uniquely gifted to lead,” he said. “I hope you’ll ask yourselves, who is the most capable person?”

The candidates weighed in on several topics, including personal work ethic, wage and salary issues, no-knock warrants, drug cases, Second Amendment rights and whether a new county jail facility needs to be built soon.

Although Anderson didn’t attend Thursday’s debate, he previously expressed his intent to improve the relationship of the sheriff’s office with the community and build the public’s trust. Anderson has worked as a deputy for the Iron County Sheriff’s Office for the past 12 years.

“Law enforcement is a career, it’s not just a job,” Anderson said during his speech to delegates at the county GOP convention in April. “We need to serve everybody in the whole county.”

In this file photo, Caleb Anderson, candidate for Iron County Sheriff, speaks to delegates at GOP convention at Canyon View High School, Cedar City Utah, April 14, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News/Cedar City News

Without the help of the public, law enforcement is a constant battle,” Anderson added in a post on his campaign Facebook page. “As citizens we need to trust one another … As your Sheriff, I would work day in and day out to ensure that the people of Iron County trusted the Sheriff’s Office.”

Iron County’s registered Republican voters are expected to receive their primary ballots in the mail sometime next week. They’ll have until June 26 to mark their choices and return the ballots.

Since there aren’t any non-Republican candidates filed for the sheriff’s race, this month’s GOP primary will effectively decide the final winner, as that top vote-getting candidate will appear uncontested on the November general election ballot.

A public forum featuring the candidates for Iron County Sheriff and other county-level races is scheduled Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Southern Utah University’s Leavitt Center. A half-hour meet-and-greet session with the candidates will begin at 5:30 p.m.

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Email: jrichards@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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