BENTON COUNTY (KFSM) -- Republican candidates for the Benton County judge and sheriff seats answered questions from the public at the Northwest Arkansas Community College Thursday evening (Jan. 14).
The four Republican candidates in the sheriff's race are Tim Filbeck, Shawn Holloway, Paul Pillaro and incumbent Kelley Cradduck.
The first question raised at the forum was the current investigation into the Benton County Sheriff's Office. Sheriff Kelley Cradduck said the allegations about him ordering a deputy to backlog another deputy's pay aren't true.
"This has been turned into a political fiasco," Cradduck said. "I've never seen a class B felony take eight months to investigate."
Pillaro chose not to comment on the investigation.
"I am not involved in this investigation," Pillaro said. "I do not work at the sheriff's office currently, so I am not in the know of what's going on."
Filbeck said he is appreciative of the efforts of the special prosecutor and investigative team.
"Number one they didn't just dismiss a rumor they went ahead and looked into it," Filbeck said. "If it comes to be that there's nothing to it, then they'll drop it, or if they have to go forward they can do that."
Holloway currently works under Sheriff Cradduck and said as a law enforcement officer, he is required to report any wrongdoing.
"We are held to a higher standard in oath," Holloway said.
The four candidates also talked about jail overcrowding, open carry, policies within the sheriff's office, gang violence and conducting DWI checkpoints. Independent candidate Glenn Latham could not take part in the forum as it was limited to Republican candidates only. He was in attendance.
Incumbent Judge Bob Clinard and opponent Barry Moehring also answered questions Thursday evening (Jan 14) regarding everything from ambulatory service in rural parts of the county, to the candidates' personal backgrounds.
Among the largest concerns from the community were the county roads and jail expansion. The two candidates also talked about the future of the Benton County courthouse, currently located in downtown Bentonville.
"We need to use our existing infrastructure," Moehring said, "We have a courthouse today that is functional, that is usable and it needs some help, and we need to provide that help for the courthouse and the facilities downtown and we need to use our existing infrastructure."
Clinard said he thinks it's best for the courthouse to be relocated.
"I'm in favor of a facility and a location that can be proven to provide an immediate solution to our needs for 20 to 25 years and with the potential expansion for our projected need for 100 years,"Clinard said.
The next public forum will be held on Feb. 11 involving the candidates for state legislature. The forum will be open to the public and will begin at 6 p.m.
The primary election will be held on March 1.