Elections 2018: DeSoto Parish sheriff draws a challenger

Mansfield police chief is vying to unseat Sheriff Jayson Richardson

Mansfield police chief challenges DeSoto Parish sheriff in Nov. 6 elections

DeSOTO PARISH, LA (KSLA) - Mansfield Police Chief Gary Hobbs is running to unseat DeSoto Parish Sheriff Jayson Richardson in elections to be held Nov. 6.

They are vying to serve the final two years of former Sheriff Rodney’s Arbuckle’s term.

Arbuckle retired in March. Richardson, who had been serving as chief deputy, was appointed as sheriff until the election.

Hobbs and Richardson both were reared in DeSoto Parish.

Hobbs, of the 200 block of Woolworth Road in Stonewall, has been working for the Mansfield Police Department since he graduated from high school three decades ago.

“I came here to work in the Police Department as a part-time dispatcher and worked my way through the various ranks.”

Richardson, of the 200 block of McCoy Lane in Gloster, has been working in law enforcement for nearly two decades, including 15 years at the Sheriff’s Office.

“I had the opportunity to work as a patrol officer to being an investigator. I actually became a forensic analyst assigned to the FBI Crimes Against Children Task Force for a couple of years.”

Both candidates say they plan to improve and enhance the Sheriff’s Office in their own ways.

Hobbs said he wants to ensure deputies are fairly compensated for their work.

“I believe in providing the deputies and officers with the equipment they need to do their job properly. I believe in paying them a salary they deserve, a salary that will allow them to support their families.”

Richardson hopes to continue to break the divide between the public and the Sheriff’s Office, working to further a bond between the community and law enforcement.

“We can always improve our professionalism. Even though we do a good job of interacting with the public and offering services, there’s always services you can add. And it’s important to always look for that."

As voters prepare to head to the polls in a few weeks, the candidates are asking citizens to reflect on promises that have been fulfilled and forgotten by previous public officials.

“My priority will always be public safety; I’ve lived my life by that. And my entire career has been about public safety,” Hobbs said. “I also believe it’s very important in this day and time to be a good steward of the taxpayers' money.”

Richardson wants the parish he serves to question the candidates so they can make an informed decision.

“Look at the candidates, look at their past and what they’ve accomplished. What has shown to be important to them, what programs have they introduced, what are their passions?”

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