Is it possible that one day, folks in Orange county may be freed? http://www.ocregister.com/news/hutchens-233522-sheriff-concealed.html Sheriff candidates show their colors at debate TUSTIN - Both challengers of Sheriff Sandra Hutchens attacked the incumbent at a candidates forum Tuesday night, but distinctions between all three were clear. Former Orange County Sheriff's Lt. Bill Hunt repeatedly emphasized the Second Amendment and his vow to make it easier to get concealed weapons permits, while Anaheim Deputy Police Chief Craig Hunter characterized Hutchens as a Los Angeles-style cop in a county where people expected more. The criticisms of Hutchens during the opening statements were strident enough that the first question from the audience attempted to redirect the debate. "It's really disappointing to me that you've focused on personal attacks and not on what you're going to do," said Steve Gooderham, one of about 60 people on hand for the forum sponsored by the Tustin Area Republican Assembly. Both challengers were semifinalists for the job in 2006, when the Board of Supervisors selected Hutchens in a 3-2 vote to replace indicted former Sheriff Mike Carona. Hunt had challenged Carona in 2006, receiving 26.5 percent of the vote to Carona's 51 percent, finishing second in a field of four. Hutchens, a 15-year Dana Point resident, is a retired division chief in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, prompting Hunter's characterization. "Would you rather go to the Honda Center or the Staples Center?" he asked. "Irvine Park or MacArthur Park? Ask yourself why that style of law enforcement doesn't work." Hunter also seized upon criticism of Hutchens that arose at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting. When reorganizing the department amid last year's budget crisis, Hutchens was widely applauded for saving street-level jobs by laying off two assistant sheriffs and six captains. However, she recently unveiled a plan to promote 15 sworn officers at their current pay for 18 months and that led to Supervisor Bill Campbell to express concern about a "bait and switch" that would end up absorbing savings made by earlier cuts. Hutchens defended her decisions and ability to maintain public safety in the county despite the Carona scandal and budget shortfalls. "No sheriff before me has faced a department in leadership crisis and ... three reorganizations," she said. She also responded to Hunt's attack on her concealed weapons policy, noting that she approve 90 percent of the applications. She revised the county's concealed weapons policy after complaints that Carona had awarded the permits to cronies. Hunt responded that he would be more generous in handing out the permits. "Any law-abiding citizen who goes through the process is going to get a concealed weapon permit" under his leadership," he said. "The burden should be on (the sheriff) to show why you shouldn't have a concealed weapon." Hutchens asks that applicants explain their need for concealed weapons. "If you don't respect our Second Amendment right, you don't respect any of our rights," Hunt said.