The Reno/Sparks chapter of the NAACP hosted a candidate forum at UNR on Monday night. Six of the seven candidates for Washoe County Sheriff had the chance to talk about who they are and why they want the job.

"It's important to make sure people are voting and that they're informed to vote," said event organizer Nnedi Stephens. "For the NAACP we've identified several issues that are important to us, especially during the sheriff's race and how they interact with the community, as well as issues like the inmate deaths we've had over at the jail because those are issues that are plaguing the office and that are going to be important in November."

This is the first in a series of forums leading up to Election Day.

"We're going to do them in different locations so we can outreach to different people in the community," said NAACP President Patricia Gallimore. "We'll go to the people instead of having them come to us so we can make sure that they're informed and have a voice in this next election because it's so important to be informed and to vote."

Moderators touched on topics from trust and transparency to training and education.

"These are questions that are fresh out of our heads so they're not going to know what we're asking," Gallimore said. "Which is good because we want it to be impromptu so they didn't have time to research it; we wanted it to come from their heart."

The goal is to educate voters about how the Sheriff's Office works and how these candidates plan to lead the department.

"There are a lot of people who might not know what the Sheriff's Office does," Stephens said. "They don't know a lot about the intake process, they don't know the process for officer-related death investigations, so there's a lot of lack of transparency around the office already, as well as the issues you see in the newspaper, that I think people need to have more information about.

They're planning a similar forum for the sheriff's candidates in May.