JACKSONVILLE, ONSLOW COUNTY -

The Republican sheriff's race candidates debated issues in law enforcement Tuesday night, causing things to get heated at times.

Incumbent Sheriff Ed Brown and challenger Hans Miller participated in the Onslow County Republican Women's Club forum at Northside High School.

Moderator Raeford Brown asked each candidate a question selected from the audience. They had two minutes to answer, and the other had one minute to respond after that.

The forum brought up some serious accusations. One question asked if Sheriff Brown had ever wrongfully terminated employees. He responded, saying he only dealt employees who were "politicking" on the job, when it interfered with the working environment.

Another question asked Miller to address if he was connected to the series of bomb threats that terrorized Onslow County for the past two months. Miller says this rumor floating around is a lie, and he or his campaign would never become involved in something like that.

The forum also allowed the candidates to highlight what they say are their strengths.

Brown prides himself on his open door policy. He says that over the last 20 years, he's helped about 80,000 citizens from them simply stopping by his office.

Miller hopes, if elected, to create several task forces among multiple law enforcement agencies to tackle crimes like drugs, internet predators and traffic violations.

The primary for Republican and Independent citizens to vote will be on May 6.