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Democratic Primary Likely To Determine Allegheny County's Next Sheriff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - The primary election is a week from Tuesday and Allegheny County is electing a new sheriff. With no Republican candidate on the ballot, the Democratic primary is likely to determine the county's next sheriff.

Allegheny County Sheriff Bill Mullen has been in law enforcement for over 50 years -- as sheriff since 2006 -– but his retirement is pitting two other police officials against each other.

"He's tapped me to continue his work that he's very much proud of in transforming that office," said Chief Deputy Sheriff Kevin Kraus.

Kraus is running to succeed the sheriff with Mullen's blessing. Standing in the way is former Pittsburgh Police chief and Penn Hills Public Safety director Dom Costa.

"He's not Bill Mullen. That deal is off the table. I feel that I'm more qualified than he is over the years of experience and the number of things I have done," said Costa.

Costa says he respects Mullen and his mentorship of Kraus, but that he –- not Kraus -– has the experience to manage a law enforcement agency.

"The police department was five times the sheriff's department. The budget was three and a half times larger than the sheriff's department. My opponent has never had to stand on his own," said Costa.

Kraus rejects that, saying his work as a police officer, a deputy sheriff and a graduate of Harvard's Kennedy School uniquely qualify him.

"Went through the ranks and gained some very valuable training from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, which is offered to less than one percent of law enforcement executives in the world," said Kraus.

Kraus says he's the right person to build on Mullen's record.

"I think I am the better candidate because I can provide continuity into this transition to the next sheriff, and I can provide longevity. I've been in law enforcement for 28 years now," said Kraus.

Costa promises change.

"Increase the transparency, the face of the Sheriff's Office so that people understand. There's a lot of things we can do better," said Costa.

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