WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Republicans Jay Cantrell and Jovey Mel Marshall are vying for Washington County Sheriff.

Jay Cantrell has been with Sheriff’s Office since 1981, now serving as chief deputy. Jovey Marshall worked at the Sheriff’s Office from 1994-2000 and is a veteran.

Cantrell said his years of experience make him fit for the position.

“I’ve helped work shoulder to shoulder with Sheriff Helder in preparing our budgets, and hiring our people, and in developing our policies and procedures,” Cantrell said.

While Marshall said he wants to bring a fresh perspective to the Sheriff’s Office.

“You’re gonna see a completely different Sheriff that you’ve ever seen before here in Washington County, or even in the state,” Marshall said. “I’m going to be a hands on person.”

Cantrell said one of his priorities is to recruit and retain staff.

“We have to figure out a way to recruit people,” Cantrell said. “There a lot of people out there that want to do something that is bigger than themselves, want to be a part of something larger. We just have to convince them that the sheriff’s office is the place to do that.”

Cantrell also wants to relieve the jail’s overcrowding. He said it should be a multi-pronged approach with expanding the jail and adding services as the county sees an increase in population.

“I think that there are things we can do to relieve some of that pressure, but I think it’s inevitable at some point, we’re going to have to look at increasing those jail beds,” Cantrell said.

Marshall said his priorities include tightening up how the sheriff’s office is run. Marshall said he would want the chance to be sheriff before knowing if the jail needs to be expanded.

“We got to go back to run our jail like a little prison, like Arkansas Department of Corrections, it’s got to be run that way,” Marshall said. “Be humane and take care of our people, but yet it’s got to be changed.”

Marshall said he also wants to create a code safety program to help the elderly and vulnerable populations.

“Where deputies when they’re idle they check on the elderly, disabled people, the homeless and make sure they’re okay and see if they have any needs or they may call a family member,” Marshall said.

Since both candidates are Republican, the election will be decided in the May primary.