TAVARES – Lake County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Peyton Grinnell and Clermont Police Chief Charles Broadway share the same philosophy about law enforcement: both say community policing is at the heart of building strong relations with the public.

The men vying to succeed Gary Borders as sheriff also agree that transparency, combating crime against seniors and ensuring the office is adequately staffed are critical to maintaining quality law enforcement.

But while the two candidates agree on many issues, their leadership styles are vastly different. One is more introverted and private than the other and the two still do not always see eye to eye on every issue facing police and how to solve problems.

Broadway, 43, describes himself as the “people’s sheriff.”

“I will be leading from the front,” he said. “If we have an event, I will be there. I am not politicizing this run. I think law enforcement is way too important to be political.”

Deciding to run for sheriff came from his determination to make a difference, he said.

Grinnell, 48, prides himself on his 23 years with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and his roots in Lake County. He said his top priority is to “provide quality law enforcement to the citizens we serve.

“I have a passion for this county,” he said. “It is personal for me. This is the county that my family was raised in and I am blessed to work with 712 professional law enforcement that truly care about the quality of life in this county.”

When asked what separates him from his candidate and makes him unique, Grinnell chuckles, his face turning red.

He did not expect to announce his candidacy.

“The sheriff surprised me when he told me it was his intent to retire,” he said. “We had a long conversation and when he asked me to step up to the plate I felt it was my duty to do so.”

Asked what their first priority would be if elected, Grinnell and Broadway both stated they want to ensure the safety of residents by providing ample law enforcement to meet the needs of a growing population.

Grinnell said by far the biggest issue facing law enforcement is the budget.

“Public safety has a cost, and I think our citizens deserve the best trained deputy sheriff that is going to be out there keeping them safe, and that comes with a price,” he said. “We will do the best to keep that cost down.”

But when asked if he would increase the budget in the first year if elected, he said he would have to analyze where the Sheriff’s Office is fiscally before deciding.

“It is not my intent to raise the budget,” he said. “I will have to take a look to see where we are at.”

Broadway said he has spoken to a number of communities in both the south and north ends of the county who state there is not enough of a law enforcement presence in the county.

As a result, he said there may be changes needed in the budget and deputies may need to be reassigned to ensure there is an adequate law enforcement presence.

Asked if that would come with an increased cost, Broadway said, “I believe that I can work within the confines of the current budget to make certain there is an adequate amount of patrol deputies from the north end of the county to the south end of the county to effectively serve our citizens.”

Grinnell and Broadway said the Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program should be reinstated, saying it is a critical tool in educating youth.

The police force also must also be diversified to reflect the community, Grinnell and Broadway stated.

According to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Employee Census, 46.2 percent of the deputies are white males and 38.6 percent female. Meanwhile, only 15.8 percent in the LCSO are minorities.

With tensions between police and some minority communities in the nation high, Grinnell and Broadway also agree improving relations with the public is critical.

“I do believe the majority of people do have respect for law enforcement,” said Broadway. “But I still believe as CEO of a law enforcement agency we must be proactive to build those relations and build rapport with our community.”

There were three deputy-involved shootings in 2015 and one in 2016, according to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

Broadway said building trust with the community begins with the youth, such as giving citations to children for good behavior and being involved with the Boys & Girls Clubs.

Often, Broadway said officers help children with homework at the Boys & Girls Clubs and he will drop by to play basketball with them.

Grinnell said recently there is always room for improvement in relations between the public and the police.

Those relations improve with transparency and accessibility to the public, he said.

“We establish relationships in those communities by going out and holding town hall meetings as we have done over nine years and making sure they understand we are there to address their needs,” he said. “Establishing relations is key. If you don’t have those relations already established and if something goes bad, trying to establish those relationships after the fact will not work.”

However, Grinnell’s stance on this issue changed from his viewpoint in July after the Dallas shootings when he stated: “I just believe there is not a vast public distrust of law enforcement. We see that in Lake County.”

Grinnell said in July a small segment of the population may be leery of the police and it is time for the majority to stand up for public safety.

Deputy involved shootings, particularly involving those in the community with mental illness are a topic the two candidates think almost alike along: Each said they could not speak to whether there was a better way to handle the situation because they were not there and did not know the circumstances of the cases.

“I don’t know if there was a weapon involved or if it was displayed,” Grinnell said. “If you go to the Officer Down Memorial Page you will see gun fire was up in over 70 percent as a cause of line of duty deaths.”

Grinnell said deputies are trained in crisis intervention in handling calls with those who are mentally ill.

Broadway said he also trains his officers in Clermont in crisis intervention.

“In Clermont we are working in conjunction with Lake’s juvenile probation to have a mobile crisis unit in Clermont and they are going to be able to follow up with the mentally ill,” he said. “It is the first one in Lake County.”

While crime is down in Lake County for the fifth year in a row, Grinnell and Broadway said thefts are still an issue.

“It is still thefts and there is always a nexus to drugs,” Grinnell said.

If elected, Grinnell said he would like to work with legislators such as Rep. Larry Metz, R-Yalaha, to make texting a primary offense. It is now a secondary offense, requiring the officer to need another infraction to stop an individual in addition to texting.

And Broadway said one of his top priorities is to improve transparency in the budget.

“I will have quarterly meetings before the County Commission and have budget meeting so people can see where their tax dollars are going,” he said.

When asked whether he would also have transparency in his budget, Grinnell said he has stated from the beginning he will place the budget online so everyone can see all the facets of the sheriff’s budget.

“We will actually do public presentations for all of our budget proposals,” he said.

Broadway, who is running as a no party affiliation candidate, said in the end the race comes down to an issue of conviction or convenience.

“It is convenient to vote for the one who has more money,” he said. “It is convenient to vote just down political party lines. I am asking them to vote out of conviction the best candidate.”