AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WFXG) - Marty Sawyer, Stuart Prettel, and Ed Wilson all have the same goal, to make Aiken County a safer and more connected place. But, they all have a different vision on how they will protect the county.

Vying to replace Mike Hunt, all three candidates believe they are prepared to lead the Aiken County Sheriff’s Department.

Marty Sawyer says the main issue in the county is drugs. He says he plans to combat that immediately.

“We need to utilize our federal task forces, sled and other agencies, narcotics division to work with the sheriff’s office and I think we can get it under control, we’re not going to solve the problem, drugs are going to be here, if anybody thinks they can stop it they’re wrong. so, we need to use the resources. in the department we need to focus on hiring good deputies, good jailers, good dispatchers, good pd, but the key to it is we need to figure out how to retain them,” said Sawyer.

Sawyer added that he wants to be a sheriff who is rarely at his desk and is out listening and answering the questions of his citizens.

If elected, Stuart Prettel says his main goal would be to create a safer community for Aiken County residents. He also believes the crime rate has risen too much for his liking.

Prettel says, “And I’ve been watching the crime rate exponential increase here. our murder rate is up 6 percent. people are being assaulted, shot, stabbed, robbed, I mean it’s just endless. it can’t go on like this. The deputies or the higher ups in the county have got to remember that they work for the citizens, not the citizens work for them.”

On top of a safer county, Prettel says he wants to be a sheriff that cares about the citizens.

While lowering crime is also a goal of Ed Wilson, he says his main focus is connecting the citizens to law enforcement.

“First of all, community involvement, that is my main goal to be honest with you, go out there and talk to the people. I get my officers out there, patrolling the streets and neighborhoods, and things of that nature and try to get the citizens involved where if you see something say something,” said Wilson.

Wilson also wants to limit drug abuse and improve response times in the county.

Early voting ends Friday. Election day is June 11th and polls will be open from 7AM to 7PM.

The winner of this republican primary will face the democratic candidate, Lucas Grant in the general election in the fall. 

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