MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. -- With six days to the election, three candidates vying to be the Martin County sheriff are stepping up their efforts to win over more voters.
Candidates Dennis Root and Robert Pryor are trying to beat the current Martin County sheriff, William Snyder.
Snyder can stand behind a platform that crime rates have steadily declined since he was elected.
Pryor and Root believe they can do more.
Wednesday, Pryor spent a couple hours waving his sign along the side of the Roosevelt Bridge in Stuart.
“I’m very confident,” Pryor said.
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He’s a retired, long-time law enforcement officer for the Martin County Sheriff’s Office looking to come back to work as the sheriff.
“I’m the only candidate that actually worked for the sheriff’s office my entire career,” Pryor said.
He says he’s concerned about excessive spending with the current administration and poor morale.
“Some of the items they’re spending on are items that I’m not sure Martin County needs.” That includes new vehicles and equipment.
“The budget’s gone out of control. It’s time to get the budget back in control.”
Sheriff Snyder says drug use, such as heroin, and property crimes are among the top crimes to tackle in the county currently.
Pryor says hiring more deputies could improve those crime concerns.
“Hire qualified deputies that really want to do the job and move forward from that. I think that will really help take care of the crime problems.”
Snyder defends his use of the budget and says morale is high.
“The morale at the sheriff’s office has never been higher. The men and women have some of the best equipment on the treasure coast. They’ve had pay raises,” Snyder said.
The money he has put toward updated equipment and vehicles was necessary for the safety of the community and his law enforcement officers, Snyder said.
“We don’t have one piece of equipment here that isn’t absolutely necessary.”
If re-elected, Snyder wants to focus more on mental health issues. That, he says, could also continue lowering the crime rate.
“One of the things that we started in the last term that I see us staying on and doubling our efforts is working with mental illness and its implications for the criminal justice system.”
He says he is also working toward obtaining funding to allow mental health professionals to join deputies on mental health related calls.
Dennis Root did not return requests for an interview Wednesday, but he does provide plenty of candidate information on his campaign website.
There, he is described as a former law enforcement officer and security expert.
He details his desire to improve on spending and tighten the budget. He also addresses a need to improve morale and transparency within the department.
He also highlights areas where training for Martin County deputies could improve, such as in the areas of suicide prevention and firearm training.
All three candidates support the use of body cameras and dash cameras and increasing their usage in the near future.