Incumbent Sussex County Sheriff Jeffrey Christopher of Greenwood will face a challenge from Seaford resident and fellow Republican Robert T. Lee, a retired detective sergeant with the Seaford Police Department, in Tuesday's GOP primary.
Incumbent Sussex County Sheriff Jeffrey Christopher of Greenwood will face a challenge from Seaford resident and fellow Republican Robert T. Lee, a retired detective sergeant with the Seaford Police Department, in Tuesday’s GOP primary. The winner of that contest will advance to face Democrat R. Beau Gooch, a former chief of the Lewes Police Department and current Milton resident, in the Nov. 4 general election.
Q Why are you running for Sussex County sheriff?
CHRISTOPHER I am interested in continuing to be your sheriff because I understand the Constitutional role of the sheriff. Yes, I believe in the civil duties of the office. In fact through hard work, the office has generated nearly $12 million for the county since my election in 2010. We have streamlined the office and made cuts as needed … However with ever-increasing crime … I feel that we can do much more to assist in public safety. In the Delaware Constitution, the sheriff is named as the conservator of the peace in the county. Serving papers is one of the duties we do, but that is not conserving the peace, wouldn’t you agree?
LEE The sheriff serves the people of Sussex County by carrying out the orders of the judicial branch of the government. We should expect the prompt, efficient and fair performance of those duties. Sussex Countians are entitled to elect the person not only best suited for this role, but the person who is willing to perform the job as defined by the Delaware Supreme Court. My 35-year law enforcement career with Seaford Police and the Attorney General’s office has been the perfect prerequisite to perform the duties of Sussex County sheriff.
Q Why should voters cast their ballot for you?
CHRISTOPHER The reason voters should elect me is simple, my opponent has changed his mind about the powers of arrest within the office. When asked to debate me, he said, “I will have to consult my team.” He is asking you to elect him, not his team. He should be able to respond to any of your questions with clear and concise answers as to how he will do as a sheriff. He states he is beholden to county council and takes marching orders from them. There is no doubt in my mind however, what my duties are and that is to serve the people who elected me.
LEE For 35 years, I have served the citizens of Sussex County as a public servant in the Seaford Police Department or as a state detective with the Attorney General’s office. I have worked alongside other local police agencies, the Delaware State Police and branches of the court. I have cultivated a trusted, respected and cooperative working relationship with many judges and others in the court system. My 10 year tenure as a state detective allowed me to build a strong collaborative working relationship with police and courts in all three counties.
Q What promises are you willing to make to voters if you are elected?
CHRISTOPHER My promise will be to continue to bring improvements and look for different ways to cut costs and deliver more and better services to the people and the courts. For instance, three years ago, I proposed to have the sheriff’s office handle the animal control enforcement problems we have here in Sussex County by partnering with the Sussex Correctional Institute to deploy inmates instead of staff to care for the animals and maintain a facility on prison grounds …
LEE I can promise, and my career validates, that I can restore integrity to the office of sheriff. I promise to restore a spirit of cooperation with the county council, local and state police agencies and the court system. I promise I will not waste anymore taxpayer monies with civil litigations over the definition of conservator of the peace. I promise to work within the current definition of the sheriff’s job description.