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County sheriff’s candidates describe experience, go head to head in forum

From left: Republican candidate Steve Anderson, moderator Steve Mallinckrodt and Democrat incumbent Dennis Crane prepare just prior to the Sheriff's candidate forum Thursday evening in the Fulton City Council Chambers.

From left: Republican candidate Steve Anderson, moderator Steve Mallinckrodt and Democrat incumbent Dennis Crane prepare just prior to the Sheriff's candidate forum Thursday evening in the Fulton City Council Chambers. Photo by Dean Asher.

The two candidates for Callaway County sheriff, incumbent Democrat Dennis Crane and Republican challenger Steve Anderson, met in a sheriff’s candidate forum hosted by the Callaway County Crime Stoppers and the Fulton Sun Thursday in City Hall.

The hour-long forum filled the council chambers with citizens interested in hearing from both candidates for the county’s highest law enforcement position.

Both candidates started off by introducing themselves. A born Callawegian, Anderson graduated from Fulton High School and began his law enforcement career with the U.S. Air Force before continuing on with the Fulton Police Department, the Missouri Department of Corrections and the Callaway Ambulance Board. Anderson said that in addition to crime in general, his main focus were he to be elected would be on high-occurrence crimes such as burglary.

“That’s not saying I won’t look at other crimes, but that will be my main focus... is to get some of those numbers down on the crimes that impact all of us,” said Anderson.

He also vowed to work at least 40 hours a week, saying “I don’t make promises, I make commitments. I will always be accessible.”

Also a native of Callaway, Crane detailed his rise from a sheriff’s reserve officer in 1982 to regular deputy, sergeant and lieutenant before being elected sheriff in 2000. Crane serves on the board of directors for the Mid-Missouri Major Case Squad and the multi-jurisdiction MUSTANG Drug Task Force, and was recently the recipient of the G.W. Law Award, issued by the Fulton Rotary Club for excellence in law enforcement.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve you for the past 12 years as sheriff; it’s very humbling at times,” said Crane. “For 12 years I’ve had the experience and understanding of what’s expected as sheriff.

“I understand the law enforcement side of it, I understand the budget side of it, I understand the correctional side of it, I understand the civil processing side of it and the list goes on. It’s a big responsibility.”

When questioned why he thought he was the most qualified candidate, Crane said it was that experience that put him at the head of the race.

“Steve and I talked about having about the same time in law enforcement but that doesn't mean our experiences are the same,” Crane said. “I've gone from coming up through the ranks… to now actually being a sheriff, so for 12 years I've been doing the job of sheriff, plus the additional things I've talked about that I think gives me the credentials to carry on.”

Anderson conceded it would be a lie to claim he had the same type of experience as Crane, but noted that the current sheriff had not been sheriff prior to taking office, either.

“I think the county needs a change, and I don't like that word, I like the word difference. It’s been 40-plus years since someone from the outside was in charge of that department,” he said. “Sometimes what you need is new ways of doing things, new blood. That kind of offsets some of the experience.”

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