OMAHA, Neb (KMTV) — It's been 20 years since the folks of Douglas County have seen a contested race for sheriff but that changed Tuesday night when Democrat Greg Gonzalez and Republican Aaron Hanson went toe to toe debating who should be the next Douglas County sheriff.
Both Gonzalez and Hanson are career law enforcement professionals.
Gonzalez is a former Deputy Chief at the Omaha Police Department while Hanson is currently a sergeant in OPD’s gang unit.
One running theme from the debate was staffing shortages and how the sheriff's office could overcome them.
One solution offered was expanding the use of part-time retired officers.
Both candidates supported bringing in retired officers but differed in what roles they should have.
Gonzalez wanted to see those retired officers put into schools.
“The true benefit of part-timers is especially that they are seasoned police officers and deputies. They are going to go into schools and have the temperament and the time to invest in schools so its a win-win for the Sheriff’s Office,” said Gonzalez.
Hanson agreed that retired officers could help staffing shortages but said he only sees them as a temporary solution.
“I could see there being a one, two or three-year period where we do have to look to our retired brothers and sisters and say hey, are you willing to come back and serve in a limited role and help give us breathing room so we can help keep the public safe,” said Hanson.
Right now no other debates are planned for the two candidates and it remains to be seen if they will take the stage again before the election in November.