FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — The Forsyth County Sheriff’s race is kicking up as the number of early voting days winds down.
The primary election will determine the winner because all three candidates are running on the Republican ticket.
Current Sheriff Bill Schatzman has been in his position 12 years. Opponents Dave Griffith and Clifton Kilby both said it’s time for a change in leadership.
Griffith is a former Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal who served in the N.C. National Guard. He ran for sheriff in 2010, earning nearly 46 percent of the vote.
“What I intend to do, very simply, is work with other agencies and make Forsyth county a very uncomfortable place for people to do criminal activity,” Griffith told FOX8.
This time, a third candidate is also fighting for votes.
Veteran Clifton Kilby retired from the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office in 2011 and believes he can make a difference for the community and improve morale for deputies.
“One of the things that I would look at improving would be the retention rate of employees to save taxpayers money,” Kilby pointed out. “If they’re not taken care of, they can’t take care of us.”
Current Sheriff Bill Schatzman says his record speaks for itself. He said serious crime is down 38 percent in Forsyth County.
“We are paperless, our vehicles are equipped with computers, we have instant record searching capabilities,” Schatzman said, also saying the department is more efficient and professional than it was when he first took office.
Earlier this month, Kernersville’s Police Chief Scott Cunningham wrote in a letter, “The Sheriff refused to allow us and others to help him keep up-to-date information on sexual predators.”
Schatzman told FOX8 that, and other the accusations in the letter, were not true.
“We have currently in this county 570-something registered sex offenders. Of which 10 are out of pocket and we have warrants for their arrest,” Schatzman explained.
All three men agree they are ready for May 6.
For information about voting times and locations in Forsyth County visit forsyth.cc/elections.