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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Sheriff’s contest one of the most heated local races

  • Republican Ron Dishman is challenging incumbent Phelps County Sheriff Rick Lisenbe in the Tuesday, Nov. 6, election.
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  • Republican Ron Dishman is challenging incumbent Phelps County Sheriff Rick Lisenbe in the Tuesday, Nov. 6, election.
    Dishman, owner of a towing company, is a reserve Doolittle police officer. Lisenbe is a retired Missouri State Highway Patrolman who is seeking a second term.
    Speaking at a Republican gathering in September, Dishman said if he is elected, he will run “a more proactive department, a more aggressive department, out in the county patrolling.”
    At the Tea Party forum in October, both men indicated they support the right of people to carry concealed weapons. Lisenbe said he is an instructor of concealed carry classes.
    Lisenbe and Dishman were both asked about the sheriff’s role as the highest law enforcement authority in Phelps County. Both agreed that is the case, for the sheriff, unlike city or federal law officers, is elected.
    The Tea Party questioned whether Phelps County’s seizure of $2 million of the $6.7 million in assets seized from statewide from criminal activity was appropriate. A second part of the question asked if the sheriff’s candidates would be willing to cut the department budget due to the amount of drug forfeiture money received.
    Neither candidate indicated the amount was out of line, and Lisenbe said the federal money comes with “strings attached” so it must be used for specific purchases of equipment or paying for training, rather than for uses that might lower the budget request. Nevertheless, he indicated a willingness to work with the Phelps County Commission on this question.
    Asked about use of unmanned drones for surveillance, Dishman said he didn’t know enough about this relatively new technology for law enforcement to answer the question. Lisenbe said he is not for cameras on traffic lights, so he is likely not in support of the use of drones.
    The incumbent is receiving support from outside his party. At a Tea Party rally held in the summer, the first speaker in the open microphone portion of the program encouraged Republicans to vote for the Democratic sheriff.
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