By Rokeyta Roberson
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer
In September when Ingham County Democratic sheriff incumbent Gene Wriggelsworth and his opponent, Republican Clyde Smith, debated in Ballot Meridian 2012 for HOMTV, the candidates didn’t agree on much.
On Election Day, county residents agreed to give Wriggelsworth another term with 67 percent of the votes, while Smith received 32 percent of the votes.
“I voted for Sheriff Wriggelsworth because I like the way law enforcement and police patrol is in Ingham County right now,” said first-time voter Kyle Harp. “I think Sheriff Wriggelsworth and his staff are doing a great job, so I didn’t see a reason to change that. There are officers on patrol all around the county, I feel safe, and the programs that I see being put in place are good for all citizens.”
When the candidates debated, both pushed the notion that public safety was their main concern.
“My goal is to ensure that every citizen is safe and feels safe in their neighborhoods,” said Smith. “We need more police in the streets and we need to make sure that the public is safe at all times, no matter the cost.”
“The candidates were on two completely different sides on almost every issue,” said Lansing resident Rebecca Arnold, 23. She said, “I felt as if the debate made citizens chose between wanting change or wanting things to stay the same, but the debate didn’t leave us with much information about what the candidates actually wanted to do.”
Wriggelsworth, concurred stating that public safety will always be a top priority for the sheriff’s office and its staff.
“We may not be able to have many officers on the street or patrolling, but we are doing everything in our power to keep the residents safe on the streets and in their neighborhoods,” said Wriggelsworth.
Wriggelsworth promised to continue to implement programs and services that saved the county money, so that law enforcement could be improved, while Smith promoted executive staff cuts to put more police on the streets.
“I’m happy to be re-elected to serve Ingham county residents,” said Wriggelsworth. “I’m going to continue to work to keep these people safe and create programs that will keep officers on the street and save this county money.”
Wriggelsworth has been the Ingham County sheriff since 1988.