DURANT, Okla. -- Bryan County Sheriff candidates Johnny Christian, John Wyatt and John Haislip said they think methamphetamine is the root of most crime in Bryan County.
"It involves a lot around methamphetamine use," Christian said. "I've done numerous reports of it."
Said Wyatt: "It's multiple things -- it's poverty -- and probably, mostly drug abuse."
Haslip said. "All the burglaries, the thefts, the domestics even -- they are stemming from methamphetamine."
Republican Johnny Christian is the third candidate to join the race. He's a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and a Bryan County native. He has 29 years of law enforcement experience with the Durant Police Department, Oklahoma Highway Patrol and time as a special deputy U.S. Marshal with OHP.
Christian said he would work closely with District Attorney Emily Redman. "She and I go a long ways back," Redman said. "And we will work very closely together to create a task force if we could to fight the war with meth."
Republican John Wyatt is a Navy veteran who has lived in Bryan County since 1977. He's an entrepreneur, and has been a reserve officer with the Durant Police Department for 21 years.
Wyatt said he would like to see inmates put to work. "I'm going to place deputies in areas that are concentrating on individual areas 24/7 and that plan is going to work," Wyatt said. "We're going to have the community involvement, law enforcement involvement."
Democrat John Haislip is also a Navy veteran, and a Bryan County native.
He has 14 years of law enforcement experience in Canada, and Haislip currently serves as a narcotics investigator with the Bryan County Sheriff's Office.
He says the Sheriff's Office is hiring more deputies thanks to a recent grant.
"I can promise this," Haislip said. " I'm going to be out every single day working with these new guys that we hire to get them up to speed and let them know who the people are that are using and not using in the county."
The candidates gave first-hand accounts of people whose lives have been destroyed by methamphetamine.
Christian told of a man who said once he used it, it made him feel 18 again. "So it got him so addicted that he could not get away from it," Christian said.
Wyatt talked about methamphetamine users' appearance."They get thin, they get dirty, they lose their teeth, their hair," he said.
Haislip said methamphetamine use had a human cost that translated into an economic cost for the Bryan County. "The parents are on meth and they don't want to take care of their kids," he said. "So we wind up having to get with CPS and take the kids from them."
Primaries are June 28. The general election is Nov. 8.