Sebesta and Toler present visions for 3rd District constable

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, October 25, 2022

3rd District Constable Shelby “Lynn” Toler (R) is seeking reelection in November and faces Geoff Sebesta (D) on Election Day.

Both candidates faced the voters on Oct. 3 at a candidate forum held at the Clark County Cooperative Extension Office.

The audience heard from Sebesta first during his opening statement, in which he said he would not upset the status quo if elected.

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“I’m running because the office of constable is perfectly simple. We serve papers, we collect fees, and we return those fees to the community. That is exactly what I am going to do,” Sebesta pledged.

Toler focused most of his opening statement on his experience in law enforcement.

“I went into law enforcement and serving our community back in 2013 as a volunteer with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. I have nine years of law enforcement experience and hold over 200 hours of in-service training since being elected as your constable,” Toler said.

The first question posed to each candidate was why constables are still necessary in Kentucky.

Toler responded that the office is written into the state’s governing document.

“This is a constitutional office just like any other that has been before you tonight. We cannot do away with each office. If we do away with one…Then who is going to be next? The sheriff? The jailer? Or the court? So we have to protect that.”

Sebesta countered that the office is more about what the people want.

“How do you want to do this? The constable is a peace officer. This allows them to be a bridge between citizens and law enforcement. That is desperately needed. One of the main problems we are having in this country today is that law enforcement and the people have lost track of each other…You can use this opportunity to bridge that gap.”

The second question asked the candidates if constables were required to meet peace officer professional standards.

Sebesta said that to the best of his knowledge that they were, but a recently passed law would change that.

Toler said that constables were not required to do so and that the recently passed law would strip constables of any peace office power starting in 2023.

The third question asked the candidates what ideas they would bring to the office to improve it.

Toler said he wishes to focus more on the local drug problem.

“I want to fight the drug epidemic here in Clark County…I run into drugs all the time. You have to advocate on both sides. You have to help those individuals when you are making arrests, and you have to work with other agencies. So, I ask the sheriff and the chief of police, and all our local police officers, let’s come together and fight this together,” Toler said.

Sebesta said would not approach the job from a law enforcement mindset.

“I’m one of you all. I’ll work with you all and for you all. It is a question of attitude, and that is my attitude,” Sebesta said.

The fourth and final question asked Sebesta and Toler to list a personal strength and weakness.

Sebesta said he likes to talk to and work with people and enjoys solving difficult problems.

Toler said his weakness is telling people no and that he wants to please people. He said his strengths are his professionalism and personal moral values.