The Redlands Rotary Club gave two men a soap box to pitch their promises to protect and serve Mesa County as sheriff at a debate hosted by the club at The Venue at Fisher’s Market, in Grand Junction on Friday. “I think one of the problems we have right now is we’re putting the needs of the criminals over the rights of the victims,” said candidate Robert Dalley who’s the Chief Marshall in Debeque. Sheriff Todd Rowell says, “We’re struggling a little bit to keep our staffing up in our detention facility. So, we gotta find a way to attract people to a job that is a very tough job.”

Todd Rowell is a former marine who graduated top of his class at the academy and has served the sheriff’s office for more than two decades. He was appointed sheriff last August, and one of his priorities is continuing the fight against fentanyl. “We have got to get the awareness out there. We can’t arrest our way out of this. People have to know if they’re taking a pill, it may look like an oxycotin, or oxycodone, it could likely be fentanyl.”

Robert Dalley is a 4th generation Mesa County resident and former reserve deputy for the Sheriff’s Office, and former fire chief for the Lower Valley Fire Department. Now, he’s serving as Chief Marshall for Debeque. He wants to stop the surging crime rate in Mesa County he says is way up compared to like sized counties. “We need to get back to being tough on crime, and we need to get back to making the appropriate charges following the laws ourselves and making sure there’s actually a consequence to the actions of those who victimize our citizens,” said Dalley.

Each candidate at the debate fighting for your vote to be Mesa County Sheriff has two minutes to answer a series of questions from a panel of citizen moderators. The only problem is they failed to ask one of the toughest questions currently facing our nation. What is your stance on gun control in the wake of recent mass shootings? “I’m not a fan of gun control,” said Rowell. “I think gun control only targets the people that are law abiding citizens. Taking the tools away from people doesn’t make sense to me. All that does is limit people that are law abiding citizens to exercise their 2nd amendment right.”

Dalley shares the same viewpoint. “As far as gun control, I believe in the 2nd amendment, and I think if we want to make changes there it need to be made on a constitutional level. There are literally, millions of weapons out there from law abiding citizens that don’t commit any crimes, and I am absolutely opposed to trying to penalize, or punish those that are following the law because of actions of a few people that are not.”