RALEIGH N.C. (WNCN) – Southeast Raleigh showed up in full force to bring their questions to Wake County Sheriff candidates Donnie Harrison and Willie Rowe.

“I hope they can bring, build back up the trust with the public and make the public feel like they are safe,” Spencer Wight, the organizer and CEO of the North Carolina Transit Workers Association, said.

Topics ranged from mental health training, to the use of force in the line of duty, school safety and detention center programming.

But first, both candidates had to address how they would get it all done with staffing shortages still weighing down on law enforcement across the country.

“In order to retain the staff that you have you have to improve working conditions,” Rowe said. “You have to improve morale.”

Meanwhile, Harrison said you have to cover all bases for those involved.

“The only way we can do that is to reach out to community colleges and other places such as the veterans and make sure that we are touching all of our bases,” Harrison said. 

Another key theme was how the future sheriff would connect with minority communities, from bridging the language barrier for Hispanics in the county, to reaching at-risk students.

“We’ve got a lot of improvement to do,” Harrison said. “Especially with the way technology is now. There are so many ways technology can help us.”

Meanwhile, Rowe said he wanted to be involved with the community first-hand.

“We will actually host events in the community,” Rowe said. “We will have a presence to ensure you that we’re there to serve the common good.”

Early voting starts on Oct. 20 before the Nov. 8 general election.