The Times, Lakeshore Public Radio and the League of Women Voters are hosting a
primary debate for the Lake County Sheriff candidates Monday at 6 p.m. The debate is open to the public and will be available to watch live on The Times' Facebook page.
The Lake County sheriff oversees more than 456 employees and a budget of more than $35 million, the largest in county government. Here's a look at the candidates:
Betty Dominguez, of Crown Point, has worked as a Lake Juvenile Court probation officer, an administrative assistant to the Indiana Department of Corrections commissioner and as chief probation officer in Lake Superior Court County Division before she retired in 2012. She is the wife of Roy Dominguez, who served as Lake County sheriff from 2003 to 2010.
Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez
Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez, of Crown Point, has served 24-year on the county police force. He made a name as the county police officer most likely to bust drug couriers on local interstate highways. He ran unsuccessfully for sheriff in the 2010 and 2014 Democratic primary elections. He became sheriff Sept. 16 when a majority of Democratic precinct committee members chose him to serve the unexpired term of former Sheriff John Buncich, who was found guilty of bribery and fraud.
Nate Hall, of Gary, is a retired Gary police sergeant. He served 38 years on the force. He graduated in 1973 from Gary's West Side High School.
Richard G. Ligon, of Gary, is making his third run for the office of Lake County's top cop with a background of 36 years of military service. He was a federal law enforcement agent for 23 years. He also has served as a Gary police commissioner, an Indiana parole agent and a juvenile probation officer and supervisor.
David A. Dowling, of Crown Point, has a 32-year police career. He graduated from Hammond's Morton High School in 1981, attended Purdue University Northwest and graduated in 1985 from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. He started as a Schererville patrol officer in 1984. He rose to become police chief from 2005 to 2008 and returned as police chief in 2012 and continued until his retirement this year. He also has previously served as an interim director for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.
Wally M. DeRose, of Schererville, is a retire Gary police officer and Homeland Security Federal Protective Services agent. He spent six years in the U.S. Army, including three years active duty, and seven years with the U.S. Department of State in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security.
Lake County Clerk Mike A. Brown
Lake County Clerk Mike A. Brown won election as county clerk in 2010 and 2014 and as county recorder in 2004 and 2008.
Maria J. Trajkovich
Maria D. "Garcia" Trajkovich, of Crown Point, is a corporal with the Lake County Sheriff's Department. She has been on the force since 1997.
Dan Bursac, of Merrillville, is the lone Republican candidate for sheriff. This will be Bursac's fifth attempt to win the office. Bursac is a graduate of Gary's Lew Wallace High School and a 28-year veteran of the county police force.