(KMAland) -- KMA News continues its "Meet the Candidates" series, featuring the candidates running in key local races in the June 2nd Iowa Primary. This special edition in the series takes a look at the three candidates running for the Republican nomination in the Pottawattamie County Sheriff's race.
Rob Ambrose, Danielle Bentzinger, and Andy Brown are all vying to become the successor to longtime sheriff Jeff Danker, who announced in January that he would not seek an eighth term as sheriff in Pottawattamie County.
Currently residing in Underwood, Ambrose has over 21 years of experience in law enforcement. Ambrose began his career in the late 90s with the Missouri Department of Corrections. He was then hired as a deputy with the Shelby County Sheriff's Office in Harlan, and later became a member of the Pottawattamie County Sheriff's Office. In 2018, Ambrose was promoted to Danker's Chief Deputy. Ambrose tells KMA News that he's worked in public service for most of his life.
"I started working in junior high as a lifeguard," Ambrose said. "In college I worked for county conservation patrolling the parks and taking care of stuff in the parks. Then I moved on to corrections and then found myself as a deputy sheriff."
Born and raised in Council Bluffs, Bentzinger is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and was first hired to work for the Pottawattamie County Sheriff's Office in 1998. She and her family currently live in Crescent. Bentzinger says she's running for sheriff because of the love that she has for her community.
"I believe serving as sheriff is going to be a great way to give back to my community that I was raised in and that I still live in today," Bentzinger said. "I've always wanted to be in law enforcement because it's a job that helps people, and public safety is a big motivation for me."
A Harlan native, Brown began working in the Pottawattamie County Jail in 1999 before becoming a certified deputy in 2003. He was promoted to sergeant in 2011, and is currently the Pottawattamie County Sheriff's Office Lieutenant -- overseeing employees at the courthouse campus. Brown says his passion for law enforcement came at a young age.
"My main role model growing up was my grandfather," Brown said. "He was a World War II veteran. My father was also a veteran. There was a big military background for me. My mom was a deputy auditor in Shelby County for 20-plus years. Just being around law enforcement, it's just something I've always wanted to do and I really looked up to those guys."
One of the issues that Ambrose is focusing on during the campaign is the need for school resource officers within the county's school districts.
"I do believe that will happen in the future," Ambrose said. "It's my understanding that the Board of Education is looking at opening some things up for schools to use some of their funds in different ways that will include school resource officers. I'm really excited about that and hopeful that we'll be able to do something there."
Bentzinger says community relations will be one of her top priorities if elected.
"When people usually see law enforcement, it's not necessarily in a positive manner," Bentzinger said. "I want to bring a more positive relationship between the sheriff's office, its employees and the community. The community and citizens need to trust the deputies that serve Pottawattamie County. I just think that getting out and speaking with people more often creates a better environment for the law enforcement and the citizens."
Brown is also focusing on community outreach, specifically within the county's rural areas.
"We need to be more involved out in the rural community," Brown said. "Whether that be town hall meetings, we need to get to the people and ask questions and see what their concerns are before they have to essentially call us for help. Also, school resource officers are also a part of the community outreach."
You can hear the full interviews with all three Pottawattamie County Sheriff's candidates below.