RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, who is running for governor, and several Democratic lawmakers announced their public safety strategies at a news conference Monday afternoon.

The announcement drew criticism from Republicans.

Speaking at the news conference, Vance County Sheriff Curtis Brame said his community faces all kinds of safety concerns.

“We have some serious issues with drugs, fentanyl, opiates. We have a serious problem with fraud; we have a serious problem with guns in the hands of people who are not allowed to have them,” he said.

Stein talked about strategies he thinks will make North Carolina safer. Some of these priorities have already been introduced in the legislature.

Stein discussed the deadly impact fentanyl is having on North Carolina and proposed a Fentanyl Control Unit. He explained that it would consist of “special prosecutors here at the Department of Justice.”

Other proposals to combat the fentanyl crisis include: “Legislation to go after drug traffickers and update our controlled substances act,” Stein noted.

As the sexual assault kit backlog is dealt with, Stein says he wants to see more resources to investigate cold cases.

“My office is proposing the formation of a statewide cold case unit to help local law enforcement use these DNA hits to open and investigate cold cases,” he noted.

He also focused on recruiting and retaining police officers with incentives like hiring bonuses to bring in out-of-state officers and incentives for training and continuing education.

“We want to reward them when they go back for training and education, so they see a real career path in law enforcement,” Stein noted.

He and Democratic legislative leaders also called for gun legislation including red flag laws and universal background checks, but with Republicans in control of the legislature, Stein was asked if many of his safety priorities are likely to receive support.

“A number of these proposals we’ve talked about today have been embraced and sometimes initiated by Republicans,” Stein responded, citing efforts to update the controlled substances act and the “Stop Counterfeit Pill Act” which makes it a felony to have equipment to make counterfeit pills containing fentanyl and other controlled substances.

“Safe is not a partisan issue,” Stein continued.

But, the NCGOP responded to Stein’s remarks today with the following statement:

When it comes to public safety, you couldn’t have a much worse track record than Democrats these days, and we see that in Democrat-run cities right here in North Carolina and around the country. Josh Stein’s “new plan” is merely the same old ‘hard-on-citizens, soft-on-criminals’ playbook, just rehashed for a new election. The People of NC deserve better than the crime waves Democrats like Stein have been delivering since 2020.

CBS 17 reached out to the campaigns of the two current Republican gubernatorial candidates but had not received a response Monday evening.