HILLSDALE COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS) – Scott Hodshire took a step closer to being the Hillsdale County Sheriff. He is one of three Republican candidates in a tight race with a current lead of 36.5% of the votes with 73% of precincts reporting. Carl Albright currently has 31.9% and Jon Rutan has 31.6%.

“I feel I’m not done giving back to the community,” candidate Scott Hodshire said in an earlier interview with 6 News. “I feel that there’s a lot more to offer to the community than what’s being offered right now.”

Hodshire, a former patrol officer, says along with tackling the county’s drug problem he has a list of things he wants to accomplish in his first year if elected. He wants to put police officers back in local schools and cut down on the number of people in the county’s jails by offering more community service opportunities.

“If the judge offers community service to the inmates right now instead of a jail sentence, that is no option currently at the Sheriff’s office,” he says. “I want to reinstate that, which we used to have, back eight years ago.”

The three men on the ballot say they’re united by the party and by a passion for service.

“I believe that the citizens of Hillsdale County deserve a well-trained, well-organized Sheriff’s office,” said undersheriff Carl Albright in an earlier interview with 6 News, “and I can provide that to them. I truly believe that.”

Jon Rutan’s online platform includes adding an internal affairs department to the sheriff’s office and more training for sheriff’s deputies. The former corrections officer considers himself a “hard Republican.”

All three candidates are in the same party but each one says they have something unique to offer the people of Hillsdale County. For Albright, it’s the decades of experience as a licensed officer.

“I think I come with a big benefit of having done that job, having been there done that. So that’s my opinion.”

Hodshire says it’s his ability to see what’s missing at the department and his commitment to bringing it back.

“The Sheriff’s office has lost roughly 15 deputies in the last three and a half years. We need to find out why we’re losing our deputies,” he says, “and provide them a good place to work, where they’re appreciated weekly, daily.”

In a county with low voter turnout rates, all three candidates say it’s important for the people to make their voices heard at the polls.