Sheriffs in Western North Carolina face challenges, change

Sheriffs in Western North Carolina face challenges, change

The job of the county sheriff is important even though the county sheriff’s job is widely misunderstood. Sheriffs don’t just hold the keys to the jail. They’re responsible for fiscal and personnel management, community outreach, legislative advocacy, local government relations, inter-agency coordination and supervising a department of men and women charged with carrying out statutory law enforcement duties in an efficient, professional and safe manner. They’re also partisan political figures whose influence can have a substantial impact on public policy and electoral campaigns from a local to a national level. In the 17-county Western North Carolina region, only nine sheriffs are seeking reelection this year. Voters in the other eight counties will say goodbye to years of experience and institutional knowledge, but they’ll also have the chance to shape the future of law enforcement in an era when sheriffs are increasingly being called upon by some to determine what laws, exactly, they intend to enforce. They’ll do so beginning with the May 17 Primary Election, as they navigate the political chasm between defunding police and increasing policing power. SEE ALSO: Christopher’s shadow looms large over Haywood sheriff’s race Chapter 162 of the North Carolina General Statutes outlines the qualifications, obligations and responsibilities of sheriffs and establishes statewide a term of four years. To run for sheriff, a candidate must be 21 years of age, a qualified elector in the county where they wish to run, and cannot have been convicted of a felony. They also can’t practice law or […]

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