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Charlotte County's Republican Candidates For Sheriff

Sheriff Bill Prummell, Dale Ritchhart and Joe Angelini are running to be the Republican pick in the Charlotte County's sheriff race.

Charlotte County will choose its Republican candidate for sheriff on Aug. 30. The race includes an incumbent looking for a second term, a retired law enforcement veteran and a Punta Gorda police officer.

Sheriff Bill Prummell was elected to office in 2012. He said he’s lowered the crime rate by more than a quarter in his first term.

Prummell wants to focus on mental health services now. He pointed to a 2016 program that takes addicts to a treatment recovery facility.

“If they come in and they have a user amount of drugs on them and they hand them over to us and say ‘I want help.’ We will destroy those drugs, we’re not going to charge them and we’re going to get them the help we need,” he said. “Because we’re truly not going to solve the problem unless we solve the problem of addiction.”

One of Prummell’s challengers is Dale Ritchhart. Ritchhart has a range of experience in the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, working in areas from crimes against children to the intelligence unit.

He’s also served on statewide task forces and with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.  

Ritchhart retired from the sheriff’s office in 2010. Now, Ritchhart wants to go back to work. He said he wants deputies interacting with communities.

“That’s who can solve the crimes in partnership with us,” he said, “bridging that gap. If you have a crime in your neighborhood, or you have drugs in your neighborhood. Who can best give you the intel? You and your neighbors."

Community relations is also part ofJoe Angelini’s campaign. He spent 27 years with the sheriff’s office, and now works with the Punta Gorda Police Department.

Angelini says he wants to focus on customer service like responding faster to non-emergency calls.

“There’s no way that you should sit or your wife or your mother should sit on the road in the middle of August when its 100 degrees out here waiting for an officer to respond,” he said. “That is uncalled for. Under my leadership that would never ever happen.”

The Republican candidate chosen in the primary will face off against Democrat Jim Melo and non-party affiliated candidate Ed Pope in November.   

Topher is a reporter at WGCU News.