GOP Laramie County Sheriff Candidates Air Views At Chamber Forum
The three Republican candidates for Laramie County Sheriff discussed topics ranging from morale in the sheriff's office to possible marijuana legalization to why each of them would make the best sheriff on Tuesday morning in Cheyenne.
Don Hollingshead, Brian Kozak, and Boyd Wrede spoke at the event held at Accomplice Beer Company on the Cheyenne Depot Plaza. The Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce hosted the event.
The event was held ahead of the Wyoming Primary Election on August 16. One of the three will get the Republican nomination on that day and go on to face Independent Jeff Barnes and Democrat Jess Fresquez in the November General Election.
The election's winner will replace long-time Laramie County Sheriff Danny Glick, who is retiring after several terms in office.
Candidates Express Their Views on Marijuana Legalization in Wyoming
Don Hollingshead said that while he hopes Wyoming does not legalize marijuana, the big problem locally is harder drugs such as Fentanyl crossing the state border. He went on to say that the sheriff ''will have to tackle what we have presented to us, and we increase things as we get presented with stuff. As things increase and things change, and we in the sheriff's department have to be swift on our feet and modify how we do things to tackle those issues as they come up."
Boyd Wrede noted that the job of law enforcement "is not to make the laws, but to enforce them." But he says if Wyoming legalizes marijuana, the state should "sit down and learn from Colorado's mistakes, Washington's mistakes...let's learn from those mistakes, and if we're going to do it, let's do it right.'' He went on to say that the way to do that is to work with law enforcement so that "it's not going to increase our crime rate." He went on to say that what needs to be decided is "How can we get revenue from this, not just make it a free-for-all.''
Brian Kozak noted that he was the Police Chief in Avon, Colorado when the state legalized marijuana. He says marijuana dispensaries "opened up all over the place, and there was no regulation." He went on to say that if Wyoming legalizes marijuana, "we need to make sure that we have all the regulations in place'' to get out in front of the situation. But he also said that even if Wyoming legalizes marijuana, it will mostly be the same people smoking it who already are, rather than seeing a massive increase in marijuana usage. He says that he would expect to see an increase in car accidents but little or no increase in violent crime based on experience. He added that in his experience, marijuana users are rarely violent, but they do cause car crashes, particularly when usage accompanies alcohol consumption.
Throughout the debate, Wrede and Kozak tended to be critical of current Laramie County Sheriff's Office policies, while Hollingshead touted his many years of experience with the office and tended to defend its policies.
The candidates covered various other topics ranging from morale among deputies to what sort of help is available for people suffering from mental illness or addiction who end up in jail. You can see the entire debate in the video provided by the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce below: