Harrison County sheriff candidates square off over managing department

Both candidates for Harrison County sheriff agreed training and equipping deputies, managing a limited budget, patrol and community policing, and moving the jail forward now that it’s no longer under a federal consent decree are crucial areas of focus for the next sheriff.

But they disagreed, at times sharply, on whether those issues have been adequately dealt with under the current sheriff and on how to best manage the agency in the future.

The candidates, incumbent Melvin Brisolara and challenger Troy Peterson, faced off in a debate Thursday morning at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Park campus. The debate was sponsored by the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce and Coast Young Professionals.