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Hank Hemrick is hoping the third time will be the charm.
Hemrick, who ran two previous times for the office of sheriff, is hoping his message resonates with voters against fellow Republicans Steve Burch and Winn Webb at the Aug. 14 primary.
Hemrick’s message is consistent: The sheriff’s office is top-heavy financially, eliminate take-home vehicles for what he calls non-responders and return fire rescue services to county control.
“And I am a constitutional guy. I like things done according to the Constitution,” Hemrick to the Chronicle Editorial Board.
However, Hemrick sees a clear and present danger facing the county — the drug problem.
“I will be the sheriff that will do things. We will become a major player in the war on drugs,” Hemrick said.
He said he would set up an elite task force to take on the issue head on.
“If we can reduce the drug problem, you will see other crimes decrease,” Hemrick said.
He said he would also set up a traffic unit to go after aggressive drivers and drunk drivers, but leave others alone.
Hemrick said being a constitution guy, he disapproves of officers setting up check points and stopping motorists without reasonable suspicion.
He recounted a story of an elderly driver who was allegedly stopped going 29 in a 25 mph zone and told she would not get a ticket if she agreed to a search of her vehicle. Hemrick said K-9 was called, but upon arrival, the woman was suddenly told to go on without explanation. He said those are the kind of encounters he will seek to discourage as sheriff.
“I would want all my deputies to go introduce themselves to people in the community and get to know them. Engagement is going to be a big part of what do,” Hemrick said.
He said fiscally, he would reorganize a management structure he contends accounts for nearly $2 million in pay and benefits.
Hemrick said he will cut all unnecessary expenditures and functions, but not services.
“I will have a line-item budget, unlike what we have now. My question is why can’t we the budget,” he said.
Hemrick is a retired deputy warden of the New York City Department of Corrections. Hemrick has run unsuccessfully for sheriff in 2004 and 2008. He also finished third in a three-way school board race.
Chronicle reporter A.B. Sidibe can be reached at 352-564-2925 or email@example.com.