HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Incumbent Harrison County Sheriff Melvin Brisolara and challenger Troy Peterson shared a stage at the USM campus in Long Beach Thursday morning in an event sponsored by the Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce. The two will meet in a run off on August 25. They're coming off a razor tight primary contest with Peterson picking up 49 percent of the vote and Brisolara capturing 48 percent.
A wide array of issues were discussed and debated. Brisolara hit the experience and accomplishment buttons in asking voters to re-elect him to a third term
"If they look at my record, I think it speaks for itself. I think I did a good job for the last eight years. We have a great team. We have great employees at the sheriff's office. They're doing a good job," said Brisolara.
Troy Peterson worked in the Sheriff's office for 24 years before retiring in 2015. The military veteran wants residents of Harrison County to know how committed he is to becoming sheriff.
"Nobody can out work me. We have worked hard since day one. After the August 4 primary, I was walking neighborhoods on Wednesday morning. It shows the passion we have for this job and what we're trying to accomplish," Peterson said.
The crowd heard Peterson talk about putting policing ahead of politics at the sheriff's department.
"They're not worried about the administration. They're worried about keeping their families safe, their communities safe, knowing they can go home to a safe environment and their kids are safe at school. That's what they're looking for," according to Peterson.
Brisolara stressed the importance of his work to have the Justice Department lift its 20 year supervision over the jail.The fed is satisfied with mandated improvements made at the jail.
"Anytime you can get the Justice Department to walk away and give you full control, what an accomplishment. You don't hear about that too often. I'm proud of getting that done," said Brisolara.
There is no opposition in November so it's winner take all in the August 25 runoff.