A dispute over which candidate is tougher on crime took center stage Friday in the race for one of the Salt Lake County Commission seats, with one candidate lining up top law-enforcement officials to criticize the other.

Randy Horiuchi, a Democrat running for the seat currently held by Republican Tom Shimizu, said Shimizu has voted to reduce the sheriff's budget and has voted against a neighborhood drug eradication program. Sheriff Pete Hayward and Salt Lake County Attorney David Yocom stood beside Horiuchi at a press conference to lend support. Both also are Democrats.But Shimizu countered by saying he never has voted to reduce the sheriff's budget. He instead occasionally has voted to give the sheriff less than he requested. The sheriff's patrol budget declined in 1987 because of the loss of federal programs, he said.

Horiuchi vowed to support law enforcement if elected, even to the point of raising taxes. "If a tax increase happens, it's going to happen for public safety," he said.

Shimizu said voters should expect higher taxes if they elect Horiuchi. "He would raise taxes in every budget. He's promising everything to everyone."