ROANOKE, Va. -

With less than three months to election day, the three candidates for Roanoke City Sheriff are running hard. On Tuesday, they were vying for votes among members of the Williamson Road Area Business Association.

 The current sheriff, Republican Octavia Johnson, touts her experience leading an accredited department for the last eight years.

"We have started implementing new things within the department," Johnson said in an interview, "updating our technology, making our office more efficient and we have not finished yet. There is a lot more that we need to do."

The other two candidates who hope to manage the city jail, and coordinate courthouse security also have extensive law enforcement experience.

Democrat Tim Allen has held leadership positions in both the city Sheriff's office and the Western Virginia Regional Jail.

"I'm running to actually elevate the level of the Sheriff's office," Allen told WDBJ7. "I want to bring the Sheriff's office back to where it was, where we were directly involved in the community."

Independent Travis Akins is a Crime Prevention Specialist with the Roanoke City Police Department.

"I fully intend on giving back to the community," Akins said in an interview, "cleaning up the streets and cleaning up the neighborhoods and keeping kids out of jail in the first place."

The meeting with the Williamson Road Area Business Association was the first, and likely one of very few events with all three of the candidates in attendance.
A campaign that started early, could go down to the wire in November.