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Jefferson County sheriff candidates discuss focus of campaigns as November 3 quickly approaches

Both candidates talked to 12News about what issues are important as they vie for votes in Jefferson County

BEAUMONT, Texas — The countdown is on and election day is only 12 days away. The race for Jefferson County Sheriff is heating up.

Zena Stephens has been sheriff for the last four years, and her challenger David Odom is vying for the votes to replace her.

Both candidates know the county well, and have lived in it their whole lives.

Zena Stephens and David Odom have both spent most of their lives in law enforcement, specifically in Jefferson County.

They are familiar with the issues that plague their hometown.

If elected, each one has their own plans for solving problems and creating change.

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Sheriff Stephens said that means continuing to build trust in the community.

"The officers are turning the cameras on and we're reviewing those video footages and those, not just archiving what we take. We're looking at them to make sure we're doing what we're supposed to be doing. That's not to get officers in trouble, that's to make sure that we don't get in trouble, that we don't get complacent," Stephens said. 

As for Odom, he wants to focus on bringing back the officer reserve program to Jefferson County.

"They're officers that volunteer their own time, free of charge, no cost to the county. And they can assist a full-time deputy,” Odom said. “We could double up the patrols. We could have two-man units."

Stephens wants to stay true to her idea of community policing making sure deputies are always accessible.

"A big thing for me is getting out of our cars and engaging on a consistent basis with people in Jefferson County," Stephens said.

Odom agrees and wants to bring back programs like Cops and Kids and DARE to help build trust with people, especially children.

"This will be another way to introduce the children to the police and teach them that the police are their friends, not their enemies," Odom said.

Both candidates are ready to put their plans to use if elected.

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