Three candidates currently in race for Craven Co. sheriff

Craven County Sheriff candidates (Greg Payne, NewsChannel 12 photo)

This year's Craven County Sheriff's race features three candidates.

Two of the candidates have squared off before. Sheriff Jerry Monette beat Fred "Chip" Hughes in the 2014 race. The third candidate is John Gillyard.

"My numbers were equivalent with the election four years before and I don't think that he'll have the luxury of the senate race to take and bolster numbers this time," Monette said about a possible rematch with Hughes, a former N.C. highway patrol officer.

"Even though you hate to lose, we were very pleased that we were able to run a positive campaign," Hughes said. "We did on our side and we will do that this time."

Gillyard is no stranger to law enforcement, previously working with a sheriff's department in South Carolina. He said his decision to run for the Craven County Sheriff position was a sign from God.

"When I found out that it was going to be three people running, it was a blessing for me because the people have more to look at than just two," Gillyard said.

The three candidates have specific plans for the country and issues to address, from cleaning up prisons, providing more support for those with mental health issues and fighting the opioid epidemic.

"We've got to get a hand on this opioid epidemic," Hughes said. "I would say there's not enough being done and not only from an enforcement standpoint but we've got to educate as well. "So our office, that's going to be at the forefront."

"We have a lot of folks that come into this jail facility and they are low risk and non violent and so we've worked hard to make sure we get those folks back out of jail in a timely fashion," Monette said. "So they don't just sit here and languish around. We keep our bed spaces open for our violent offenders."

"They are mentally ill, they don't need to be in jail, they need to be in a mental institution" Gillyard said. "If they are alcoholic, we are going to try to get them in programs. If they are drug addicts, we are going to try to get them in that program."

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