Out of this world: Chatham sheriff’s office provides security for visiting moon rocks

— The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office is taking on a special assignment that will help students at Horton Middle School learn about the wonders of space.

After receiving a request from sixth-grade teacher Rose Wignall, the sheriff’s office will be safeguarding rock samples supplied by NASA.

The moon rocks came to Chatham County after Wignall put in a request through the Lunar and Meteorite Disk Program.

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Sheriff Bryan Maines – Alleghany County Sheriff’s Office

MainesBryan Maines roots run deep into the mountains of Alleghany – his family has been here for generations.  A 20+ year veteran of the Alleghany County Sheriff’s Office, he worked his way through a variety of roles within the department.

He recently completed his first year as sheriff.  I recently sat down with him to review the accomplishments of his first year in office.  Specifically, we talked about new programs that he has initiated or expanded.

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Doctors’ prescriptions fuel N.C. drug overdose epidemic

overdoseThe Charlotte woman didn’t know her daughter was a drug addict until she heard a thud upstairs.

Her daughter, a bright Myers Park High graduate, had returned from college for the weekend with a sack of dirty laundry. Her mother was folding clothes in the den when she heard the fall of her daughter’s unconscious body.

She sprinted upstairs.

“She’s unconscious on the floor, blue, not breathing. No heartbeat,” said the mother, who spoke on the condition that neither she nor her daughter be identified to avoid hurting her future prospects. “I started screaming.”

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Deputy first officer in coastal NC to administer overdose drug

New HanoverSOUTHEASTERN N.C. — When New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jose Lugo used naloxone to save a young woman’s life in December, he became the first law enforcement officer in coastal North Carolina to administer the overdose reversal drug.

Lugo and his patrol partner were dispatched about lunchtime Dec. 16 to to a home off South College Road. Dispatchers told the two deputies the 23-year-old woman had overdosed on heroin.

“We heard, ‘unconscious,’ ‘not breathing,’ ‘CPR in progress,'” Lugo said.

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EMT and sheriff’s lieutenant come across fatal accident; saves victim from burning car

BurningCARTER COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – An emergency medical services technician and a sheriff’s lieutenant are being hailed heroes after they pulled a man from a burning vehicle on Saturday night. Both men happened to be driving by the scene of a fatal head on collision on Highway 362 at the intersection of Jim Elliot Road when they stopped to help.

Officials with Tennessee Highway Patrol tell us that 47-year-old Viencen Hitecheew was killed in the accident. While the other victim in this crash, 33-year-old Jerry Oaks survived.

Sean Ochsenbein was on his way back from a ski trip with his fiancee when he saw the crash and immediately got out to help.

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Supreme Court Affirms Sheriffs’ Right To Select Employees

On January 29, 2016 the Supreme Court of North Carolina issued opinions in three cases that are of critical importance to the Office of Sheriff and the citizens of North Carolina. In these unanimous opinions, authored by Justice Robert H. Edmunds, Jr., the court settled the issue of an elected sheriff’s ability to hire and retain deputies, and other policy making employees, that are loyal to and supportive of the sheriff’s administration. The Supreme Court recognized the indispensable need for a sheriff to select deputies that support the elected sheriff’s policies.
These three cases are McLaughlin and Stanley v. Bailey, __ N.C. __ (2016) (163A15, January 29, 2016); Young v. Bailey, __ N.C. __ (2016) (355PA14-2, January 29, 2016); and Lloyd v. Bailey, __ N.C. __ (2016) (181PA15, January 29, 2016).
In these three cases, four justice officers (detention officers and deputies) brought wrongful dismissal lawsuits against former Sheriff “Chipp” Bailey (Mecklenburg County) alleging they were improperly fired for not supporting Sheriff Bailey during the 2010 election. The Supreme Court of North Carolina heard oral arguments in these cases on December 7, 2015 at a hearing that was attended by many North Carolina Sheriffs in support of former Sheriff Bailey. The issues that were to be decided by the Supreme Court were whether N.C. Gen. Stat. § 153A-99 (County Employee Political Activity) applied to the employees of a sheriff’s office and whether the North Carolina Constitution allows a sheriff to consider a person’s political loyalty when determining whom to employ as a deputy sheriff.
The Supreme Court of North Carolina unanimously ruled in favor of former Sheriff Bailey in all three of these lawsuits. Two critical decisions were made by the Supreme Court in these opinions:
• A sheriff’s office is not a program or department of county government. Therefore, deputy sheriffs and other employees of a sheriff’s office are not county employees for purposes of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 153A-99 (County Employee Political Activity) and are not governed by any of the provisions of that statute.
• Additionally, the Supreme Court held that deputy sheriffs could be lawfully dismissed by a sheriff based on political considerations. The Supreme Court said, in part, “…by standing in the elected sheriff’s shoes, a deputy sheriff fills a role in which loyalty to the elected sheriff is necessary to ensure that the sheriff’s policies are carried out.”
It should be noted that while the plaintiffs in these lawsuits claimed they were improperly fired for not contributing to Sheriff Bailey’s re-election campaign, there was no finding that these plaintiffs were dismissed for not contributing. Rather, the Supreme Court looked at a sheriff’s critical need to have deputies who are loyal to the sheriff as an elected official and who will carry out the policies of the sheriff’s office.
These court decisions are not so much a victory for the sheriffs as they are a victory for the citizens of North Carolina. These court decisions ensure that when the people of a county elect a sheriff, the sheriff has a right to employ deputies that will be loyal to that sheriff and will carry out the mandate of the citizens as expressed by their selection of their county sheriff. This demonstrates one reason why the founders of our State made the Office of Sheriff a constitutionally created office accountable directly to the citizens of the county.

Former Catawba Co. Sheriff reappointed to Human Trafficking Commission

HuffmanThe Office of Governor Pat McCrory announced a number of appointments to various state boards and commissions yesterday (February 3).

Among them was David Huffman of Catawba County, who was reappointed to the North Carolina Human Trafficking Commission. Mr. Huffman served as the Sheriff of Catawba County until his retirement in 2010. He has over 42 years of law enforcement experience.

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Sheriff issues new badges, reflective of heritage and duty

BadgesSomething is different about Henderson County’s sheriff’s deputies, who were recently reminded of their roots and how they should serve the community.

New seven-point star badges have been issued by Sheriff Charles McDonald as part of his vision for the department as they move forward.

“We felt like going back to the traditional deputy badge (that) reminds us and reaffirms us of what our mission is to the community,” he said.

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Jails To Get More Peaceful With Exception Of One Floor

GuilfordGuilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes is making a big move in an effort to address the growing problem of inmates with mental health issues and substance abuse problems in the county jails.

The county is hiring a psychiatric nurse practitioner and a counselor who will be dedicated to treating inmates with mental health issues, and the jails in Greensboro and High Point will be implementing a new incarceration system in which inmates with mental health problems will all be removed from the jails’ general population and placed together in a single 40-person pod in the Greensboro jail.  Likewise, drug addicts will be placed in an adjacent 40-person pod on the same floor as the mental health patients.

For the first time, those two problem populations will be isolated from the general population and consolidated in a way that makes regular and consistent treatment for their issues much easier, and one that makes life easier on all other inmates as well.

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Take the plunge to support Special Olympics

PolarOrganizers are looking for more jumpers to join the 50 participants registered for the annual costumed Polar Plunge to be held Saturday, Feb. 6, to support the North Carolina Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.

Registration onsite begins at 11:30am at the outdoor pool of The Fitness Center, 861 Old Winston Road, Kernersville. The Polar Plunge begins at 1 p.m. Jumpers must raise $50 to participate, or can raise $25 to “dip a toe and go.” All participants are encouraged to come in costume. Teams can choose a theme.

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