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Meet the candidates: Sheriff-Coroner race for San Benito County

SAN BENITO COUNTY, Calif. (KION-TV) -- Incumbent Eric Taylor and law enforcement officer Juan Guevara are running against each other for the Sheriff-Coroner position in San Benito County.

Both men have love for the people in the community.

They both said that they believe it's important to create and maintain relationships with the people.

“It's being out there in the community, being involved, participating, showing the community that we are much more than just people in uniform enforcing rules," said Guevara.

Taylor said that it's important to him that the sheriff's office is present at all community events.

"The community deserves to know who's serving them," said Taylor. “We're actually doing that here, and we've been doing it for a number of years.”

Both candidates have ties to the League of Latin American Citizens.

Guevara is a member, while Taylor is one of the founding members of the L.U.L.A.C Farm Worker Task Force.

Although the candidates have some similar beliefs, where they differ is their experience within law enforcement.

"I went to the police academy," said Guevara. “I graduated class president. I went to the city of Oakland and worked there or a little bit, and went to Hollister police department. I was fortunate enough to patrol the areas where I grew up."

Guevara is currently a police officer for the Gilroy police department.

Outside of his regular duties, Guevara is also an instructor for principled policing for the department.

The class is meant to teach law enforcement how to build stronger relationships with the community.

Guevara has been in law enforcement for 10 years, but Taylor has 22 years under his belt.

“I started at Watsonville Police Department in 1999, and I held every rank since I've been in law enforcement," said Taylor. "I was a police officer, a corporal, a field training officer, a detective, a patrol sergeant, detective sergeant, operations captain, administrative captain, and now I'm the sheriff-corner
of San Benito County.”

Taylor is also co-chair of the child abuse prevention council and one of the founding members of the county's Opioid Task Force.

Both candidates said they believe they're the best fit to lead the sheriff's office.

"What I'm very passionate about is helping public safety make that shift from a reactionary institution to one that's proactive and not trying to fix things after the fact," said Guevara.

He said that many things could be accomplished if the sheriff's department had more positive relationships with the community.

Taylor has started many programs since he became the county sheriff in June of last year.

He said that now isn't the time to halt his progress in the department.

"I owe it to the staff and the community to follow through with the promises that I've made and make sure that the things that I have, the programs and the employees and the training that I bring to this county comes to fruition," said Taylor.

Guevara said that since he grew up in San Benito County, it brings his level of commitment to the citizens to a higher level.

"It's something that I'm extremely prideful of, and if given the opportunity, I'll be able to enforce these rules in the county that I live," said Guevara.

People have until June 7th to vote on who they want for Sheriff-Coroner for San Benito County.

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Joronica Vinluan

Reporter/ Weekend Producer for KION News Channel 5/46


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