Candidates running for Los Angeles County sheriff took the stage together for the first time Wednesday evening, trading platform ideas — and some insults — during a forum hosted by deputy unions.

Much of the debate focused on the department’s $3.5-billion budget and incumbent Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s fractured relationship with the elected officials who oversee it.

“The Board of Supervisors funds us. Open hostility is not a plan of the future, it is the plan of our demise,” said Britta Steinbrenner, a captain in the Sheriff’s Department who heads security for libraries, hospitals and other county buildings. “I want to eliminate the division within the department.”

Retired Capt. Matt Rodriguez, a onetime supporter of Villanueva, pointed to L.A. Metro’s ongoing discussions about reducing law enforcement’s presence on the transit system.

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