Philadelphia primary voters have four choices for sheriff

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Next Tuesday, Democratic voters in Philadelphia will go to the polls to select between four candidates in the sheriff's race.

The incumbent Jewel Willams became a sheriff in 2012.

The office he directs provides security for the courts, transports hundreds of prisoners each day, operates a fugitive warrant unit and oversees more than four thousand court-ordered foreclosures each year.

Williams' website says he promoted the first ever female deputy sheriff and tripled the number of female supervisors.

But he also faces accusations of harassment by three women. The city and state have paid two of the women cash settlements.

Williams declined to be interviewed for this story. But has long called the allegations false, and through a spokesperson says he did not authorize the settlements.

There are three challengers in the race. The first to announce last November was Rochelle Bilal. A former Philadelphia police officer. She vows if elected to bring in an outside agency to investigate the harassment allegations.

She also wants to see the office show more compassion to those who could lose their homes via foreclosure. Her plan is to create a proactive outreach program. The goal to "make sure people are educated on what they can do to save their homes."

The second challenger Malika Rahman is a former deputy sheriff. She says the culture of the current office needs to be reformed. Foreclosures are also a significant issue for her. If elected she says she wants to make sure tangible resources and information get into the hands of those who could lose their shelter.

The third challenger Larry King is a former deputy. His campaign is focusing on foreclosure issues as well. He said if elected on day one of his administration he would have a special team. The role of that team would be to put those who could lose their home in touch with the right people that could help them renegotiate their mortgage note with lenders.
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