CRAVEN COUNTY - Four men have announced their candidacy for Craven County sheriff.
The candidates who have come forth so far are current Sheriff Jerry Monette, Chip Hughes, Ernest Thomas and Eric Smith.
"Sometimes, the key to it is that I don't worry about losing as much as I worry about the wrong person winning. I love the agency. I love the people who work here. They've been good to me. I want to be good to them," Sheriff Monette said.
Monette said his passion to serve the people started in 1994. He is now vying for his sixth term as Craven County sheriff. He said this time around, he wants to focus on fiscal responsibility.
"We're looking for ways to save money, to make the dollar go further, and we've done some of that. I will elaborate on that during the election cycle and some of the money we've made the county, new money and money we've saved," Monette said.
Eric Smith has also been down this campaign trail before when he ran for Craven County sheriff in 2010.
"Other candidates may be able to talk the talk, but I've been through the fire. I've felt the heat and I walk the walk every day," Smith said.
Smith added that with his military background and many years working in law enforcement, he will take a proactive approach as sheriff.
"You don't want a man out there on the streets with a weapon and a 5,000-pound vehicle that is not properly trained. That's a recipe for disaster. We need to have highly trained, highly skilled deputies in Craven County," Smith said.
Candidate Chip Hughes said he's already started campaigning by talking with the people to find out what they want out of a sheriff.
"A lot of people are ready for a change. You know it's the people's office and the sheriff is the one who is blessed to be able to hold it," he said.
Hughes said he wants to work closely with other law enforcement agencies to form partnerships to reduce crime. As chairman of the Governor's Crime Commission, his platform will have a lot to do with public safety.
"School safety is going to be a priority of my office. I want our best trained officers as school resource officers. These ladies and gentlemen who are holding these positions are safeguarding our greatest assets, and that's our children," Hughes explained.
NewsChannel 12 also reached out to the fourth candidate, Ernest Thomas.
Reporter Jamie Hicks had an interview set up with Thomas on Friday, but never received a call back before this article was published.
According to the Board of Commissioners, filing for the position starts on Feb. 10 at noon and lasts until Feb. 28.
The Craven County sheriff position is a four-year term. The election will take place in November and if necessary, a primary will be held in May.