Category Archives: LAW ENFORCEMENT
Sheriff Chris Davis
This summer, The Pamlico County Sheriff’s Office is planning to begin a new program geared at helping our youth in Pamlico County. We understand that our youth are this community’s greatest asset and want to ensure that we do all we can in making sure these young folks succeed in life. This summer we are planning to start a summer camp for our youth. This camp will last a week and we plan to run as many week-long sessions as we have kids sign up for. Each session we would like to have between 10-15 kids and will be chaperoned by our (2) school resource officers as they tour Eastern North Carolina. During the week, these kids will spend time learning about the sheriff’s office, our court system, meeting local government officials, touring the nature center in Kinston, the state park in Atlantic Beach and many other places of interest in Eastern North Carolina. Our goal is to reach 60-100 8-12-year-old Pamlico County children this summer.
Not only do we believe this program will keep kids out of trouble during the summer, we also want to build strong relationships between law enforcement and our youth. We believe that we can continue to build off the relationships we have started over the last several years. My staff and I spend countless hours in our schools each year, teaching our youth about making good decisions. We believe that if we start with our youth, we will progress in making our communities and schools a safer place.
As you may know, this program is not funded by local government tax dollars. We are reaching out to you today and asking for donations to help us, help our youth. We project the cost to run this program each summer at around $10,000.00, per summer. Each day we will have to provide these kids with transportation and meals, purchase needed tickets to enter the events the group will attend and purchase each kid a t-shirt at the completion of the camp.
Over the next month, we will be reaching out to local businesses and community leaders to ask for sponsors for the “Sheriff’s Summer Camp.” Each sponsor will have their company name/logo and/or donors name on the t-shirt that each kid will receive. The cost to become a sponsor of the summer camp is $500.00; however, we would gladly except any donation possible.
I would like to thank you for your support of this great program and would like to thank you for helping us, help our youth. If you have any questions, I ask that you contact me at (252)745-3101, or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Powerful, silent protest of black community sends message
Officials approve ‘body cams’ for sheriff deputies
BAYBORO – Few among them uttered a single word, yet an overwhelming turnout Tuesday night spoke volumes: Any hint of law enforcement brutality will not be tolerated in rural, sparsely populated Pamlico County.
Entering one by one, concerned citizens from the county, from the Town of Mesic, and from the congregation of Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church – quickly transformed the (usually) more-than-adequate size of the County Commission meeting area into a Standing Room Only affair.
The reason? A Wednesday night, Aug. 31 traffic stop, which involved a black motorist and one or more deputies with the Pamlico County Sheriff’s Office.
In a formal press release from the Sheriff’s Office, the phrase: “During the traffic stop a physical altercation occurred and force was used to apprehend the driver of the vehicle,” only hints at what actually took place that fateful evening.
More than one witness said Clinton Earl Branch, 63, suffered multiple Taser shocks for which he subsequently received medical treatment. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation has undertaken an independent look at the incident – and local authorities have remained tight-lipped.
The very next morning, Sept. 1, Pamlico County Sheriff Chris Davis met with three leaders of the local black community: Mesic Mayor, Booker T. Jones; Pastor of Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church, David Burley; and Pamlico County Commissioner Carl Ollison.
Their immediate goal: De-escalate rising tensions in the community.
The hastily arranged brain-storming session among the four men apparently defused a powder keg situation, which has often exploded in other parts of the nation over recent years.
“Body cameras for our deputies was one thing that we felt could be done immediately,” said Ollison. “We all know there’s three sides to every story and a body camera will eliminate one of those versions – it records what it sees.”
Tuesday night — after a bit of hesitation in which two members of the seven-member board of commissioners suggested any action should wait until Sheriff Davis could attend — the entire board quickly and unanimously approved an $18,000 expenditure for 14 body cameras to be worn in the future by all on-patrol deputies.
Commissioner Paul Delamar III, a criminal defense lawyer, explained his support of the measure: “All of us think an eyewitness account of an incident would be the most reliable account, but sometimes it is the eyewitness account of an incident that turns out to be the least reliable account.”
Commissioner Kenny Heath, who doubles as a part-time police officer for the nearby town of Bridgeton, seemed to speak for his counterparts in law enforcement: “I actually feel safer when I have it on,” he said, referring to the body cam. “I like having things recorded when I’m on duty.”
After the one-hour session, Chester Bryant, president of the local NAACP Chapter, said: “Body cameras are needed. They solve problems.”
One young man, Joseph Cole — about the age of those who have been victims in larger communities like Baltimore and St. Louse – said: “This is not a solution, but it’s what I would call progress.”
David Burley, the pastor for many of those who attended the meeting, said: “We don’t need separation here in Pamlico County – that’s what I preach at Mt. Olive. Maybe the sharing we have seen here tonight will help to bring us together.”
State of North Carolina
General Court of Justice Prosecutorial District Three B
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SCOTT E. THOMAS | DISTRICT ATTORNEY
New Bern, North Carolina – District Attorney Scott Thomas announced that former New Bern Police Officer BRADLEY DAIL WILLIAMS, 23, of New Bern, has been charged with Misdemeanor Larceny and Obstruction of Justice.
The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) requested by District Attorney Thomas and New Bern Police Chief Toussaint Summers, Jr.
The warrant for arrest alleges that WILLIAMS stole two mechanical pencils and a metal jewelry piece, belonging to Jacqueline and Jeffrey Magee. It further alleges that WILLIAMS obstructed justice by stealing such items during the course of executing a search warrant.
District Attorney Thomas said, “Chief Summers contacted me about an allegation that Narcotics Officer Williams stole some items from a house while executing a search warrant in a narcotics investigation on April 27, 2016. I then requested an SBI investigation. Based upon the investigative findings, Mr. Williams has been charged with larceny and obstruction of justice because he was acting in his official capacity at the time the alleged crime was committed.”
District Attorney Thomas said that WILLIAMS was arrested on June 6, 2016, and released on a $ 500 cash bond. His first court date is July 5, 2016, in Craven County District Court. WILLIAMS resigned his position as a New Bern Police Officer at the initiation of the investigation.
FOR RELEASE MARCH 11, 2016
FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL:
EDMOND W. CALDWELL, JR.
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL COUNSEL
NORTH CAROLINA SHERIFFS’ ASSOCIATION
NORTH CAROLINA SHERIFFS’ ASSOCIATION
Sheriffs’ Leadership Institute
Sheriff Chris Davis of Pamlico County graduated on March 11, 2016 from the Sheriffs’ Leadership Institute. This training was sponsored by the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association and partially funded through a grant from the Governor’s Crime Commission. Twenty-seven sheriffs from across the state received their diplomas at a ceremony held at the William and Ida Friday Center at The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
The Sheriffs’ Leadership Institute consisted of four one-week training programs conducted over a period of two years. The first two weeks were designed to provide specific, technical skills necessary to assume the Office of Sheriff. The second two weeks were designed to further their knowledge, skills, and abilities in the leadership and management of the sheriff’s office.
This Institute is a national model and provided leadership and technical training, specifically designed for sheriffs, like no other training in the United States.
The Association Headquarters is located in Raleigh, North Carolina. Edmond W. Caldwell, Jr. serves as Executive Vice President and General Counsel.
By Lawrence Rowe
PAMLICO COUNTY – This is an open letter to the Pamlico County Board of Commissioners, which I have asked to be placed on the front page of the County Compass Newspaper.
I am writing this as a citizen, taxpayer, and constituent of Pamlico County. It has come to the attention of myself and others that a movement is in motion that would once again allow the running of dogs in Pamlico County to hunt bear with.
This movement is far different from the one devised several years ago in the public spotlight. This movement has been silent, swift, and well supported behind the scenes by well-funded hunting groups, lobbyist, and yes even by some County Commissioners.
I ask that the Pamlico County commissioners table this discussion on the bear hunting with dogs until the next meeting on March 21, 2016. This will afford the citizens of Pamlico County the opportunity to voice their opinions, either way, on this matter.
I ask that any and all citizens contact your local County Commissioner with your concerns on this
matter and ask them to table this discussion until the meetang on March 21, 2016.
PAMLICO COUNTY – Elected official, self-employed businessman, husband/father, community college trustee, and overall multi-tasker recently carved out 30-plus hours per week over the past six months to fulfill a lifelong goal – certified law enforcement officer.
Kenny Heath, 40, represents Township 5 on the Pamlico County Commission. He completed a rigorous course of instruction known as Basic Law Enforcement Training, where “most of our students are usually in the 25 – 26 age range,” explained instructor Rick Barney, who is Chief of Police in the Town of Bridgeton.
“There’s also a demanding physical training aspect to the course,” said Barney. “Kenny did very well in that and also academically. As a politician, he brings a whole new light to what we are doing. He has the ability to interact with others. He knows how to talk with people, and work with folks.”
In fact, Heath and his new badge – awarded Friday afternoon – quickly signed on for unpaid law enforcement duty. By Saturday night, he was on the street, helping Barney and others with a late night traffic stop set up in Bridgeton.
Few, if any, statistics are available to determine just how many of North Carolina’s county and municipal commissioners are certified to walk a police beat, or drive a patrol car.
“I’m not aware of any,” said Barney, hinting that Heath should be commended for juggling the conflicting demands of an elected official and aspiring law enforcer.
“It’s just something that I’ve always wanted to do,” said Heath, who added that he has no immediate plans to alter his current occupation.
Bayboro, North Carolina – District Attorney Scott Thomas announced that, in Pamlico County Superior Court this week, his office was able to obtain the following felony convictions in cases involving illegal drugs and violent offenses. Resident Superior Court Judge Ken Crow presided over this session of court. Each defendant pled guilty prior to having the cases called for trial. Assistant District Attorney Laura Bell prosecuted the cases in court.
STEPHANIE NICOLE HOPKINS, 30, of Alliance, was convicted of two counts of Attempted Trafficking in Heroin. On September 10, 2014, the Pamlico County Sheriff’s Department received information that HOPKINS would be coming into Pamlico County with heroin for the purpose of selling it. Sheriff’s investigators set up surveillance in the area of Grantsboro, where HOPKINS was said to be going. When HOPKINS arrived at the Bojangles parking lot, officers were waiting for her. They approached, detained, and eventually arrested HOPKINS, and recovered 3.5 grams of heroin and various drug paraphernalia. A subsequent search of HOPKINS’ residence yielded another 3 grams of heroin. Judge Crow imposed two sentences: the first was a prison sentence of 13 to 25 months, and the second 16 to 29 months. Judge Crow suspended only the second sentence, and, once HOPKINS serves the first prison term, she will be on supervised probation for three years. The car that HOPKINS was driving, a GMC Envoy, was seized and forfeited to the Pamlico County Sheriff’s Department.
Two cases below – FORD and LOVICK — resulted from Operation Clean Slate, an extended initiative by Sheriff Chris Davis to combat illegal drug sales:
EMARI LI MARISSA FORD, 24, was convicted of three counts of Possession of Heroin with Intent to Sell or Deliver. During Operation Clean Slate, the Sheriff’s Department Drug Task Force set up controlled purchases of narcotics throughout the county. A cooperating witness purchased narcotics from individuals in the county ,and these purchases were monitored by the Sheriff’s Department and were recorded with audio and video equipment. FORD conducted three separate transactions with the
witness in January and March of 2015. FORD was sentenced to a prison term of 8 to 19 months. As with every other defendant, FORD will be subject to nine months of post- release supervision after she serves the prison sentence, and will be subject to a number of conditions, including random drug testing.
CARLA MARIE LOVICK, 40, of Vandemere, was convicted of one count of Possession of Heroin with Intent to Sell or Distribute. As in the case of FORD, above, LOVICK conducted a transaction with the cooperating witness in December 2014. LOVICK had no prior criminal record before this case, and was sentenced to 6 to 17 months in prison. In light of her age and lack of record, Judge Crow suspended the sentence and placed LOVICK on supervised probation for two years, and listed a number of restrictions on LOVICK during that time. In addition to drug testing, she will be subject to warrantless searches and seizures of her person, her vehicle, and her residence while on probation.
JORDAN CAHOON, 25, of Grantsboro, was convicted of one count of Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer with a Firearm. On May 30, 2015, CAHOON was wanted for a robbery that occurred in Craven County. A description of CAHOON and a suspect vehicle had been given to all officers in the area. Trooper S. Casner of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol saw a vehicle in the Reelsboro area that matched the suspect vehicle and approached to investigate. Shortly after Casner was able to determine that CAHOON was in the car, CAHOON fled the area on foot. Casner chased CAHOON, eventually deploying his Taser to stop CAHOON. Casner had begun to handcuff CAHOON when CAHOON began to struggle and fight with Casner. During the fight, CAHOON got his hand on the trooper’s firearm and was able to get the hood (safety strap) unsnapped before Casner regained control of CAHOON. During the effort to regain control of CAHOON, Casner’s right hand was broken. Judge Crow sentenced CAHOON to a prison term of 26 to 44 months, which he ordered to run consecutively to any sentence resulting from the Craven County robbery. In Craven County, CAHOON was convicted of Common Law Robbery, and sentenced to 12 to 24 months in prison, which results in a total prison sentence of 38 to 68 months.
MATTHEW PAUL DUNHAM, 32, was convicted of Possession of a Firearm by Convicted Felon, three counts of Breaking and Entering, and three counts of Breaking and Entering a Motor Vehicle. In February, 2015, the Pamlico County Sheriff’s Department received information that stolen property, which included firearms, was located at a residence in Oriental, North Carolina. The Sheriff’s Department and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation obtained and executed a search warrant at the residence and recovered an assortment of tools that were recently stolen from the Pamlico County Schools Maintenance Department building and trucks, and items that were recently stolen from an unrelated storage unit, as well as two rifles. Investigators found that DUNHAM had broken into those locations and brought the items to the Oriental residence. Judge Crow imposed three consecutive sentences: first, 19 to 32 months in prison, followed by two sentences of 11 to 23 months each. Judge Crow suspended the latter two sentences and placed DUNHAM on supervised probation, after he is released from prison, for three years, and included the condition that DUNHAM complete the TROSA residential drug rehabilitation program.
Sheriff Chris Davis pledges: “We will not stop here!”
PAMLICO COUNTY – Monday was a Day of Reckoning in this rural, sparsely populated county as newly elected Sheriff Chris Davis – who happens to be the youngest sheriff in the nation – made good on his campaign promise to aggressively pursue illicit drug trafficking.
Operation Clean Slate, an under cover operation started shortly after Davis took office in early December, netted 25 arrests on May 18, with one suspect, Kelly Jackson Gibbs Jr., singled out for nine counts of federal criminal felony offenses – a distinction, according to District Attorney Scott Thomas – that could result in stiffer prison sentences for Gibbs than state law would allow.
“This is what I promised the people of Pamlico County that I was going to do,” said Davis, during a full-fledged press conference Tuesday afternoon. “Most undercover operations last more than six months. If you deal drugs in this county, you are going to prison.”
The wholesale arrests were so extensive that Davis requested the assistance of officers from North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement and North Carolina Probation and Parole – manpower to assist the local department’s dozen regular deputies and investigators.
“It’s tough to do a 25-person roundup with only 12 deputies,” said Davis.
Bail for the various culprits ranged from a fairly routine $5,000 bond to a whopping $700,000 for one woman, Sherri Ireland Ford, 52. Magistrates set bail depending upon the severity of the charges, and a suspect’s prior criminal history.
In response to a question during the press conference, Davis said heroin has become a much larger part of the criminal drug trade in recent years.
“I feel like it started with pills,” he said. “Then, they discovered heroin was cheaper and the high they get would last just as long.”
Scott Thomas who leads a large department of assistant district attorneys for Judicial District 3-B – which covers Pamlico, Craven, and Carteret counties – said he and his staff plan to pursue thorough and complete prosecutions.
“We’ve shown this week that we’re not going to tolerate this type of illegal drug activity any longer in Pamlico County,” said Thomas.
Full press release below:
Over the last 24 hours, Deputies and Investigators with the Pamlico County Sheriff’s Office have made the arrest of 2 individuals as a result of The Pamlico County Sheriff’s Office being proactive within our communities.
On Wednesday, May 06, 2015, at approximately 2:20am a deputy was conducting business checks in the Reelsboro community. While checking Potter Trucking, the deputy noticed a vehicle parked behind the business. As the deputy approached the business the vehicle attempted to leave the area. Deputies stopped the vehicle in the Reelsboro community. During the traffic stop, deputies noticed truck parts in the rear of the vehicle consistent with parts that would be at Potter Trucking. After talking with the driver of the vehicle, Tony Vente HODGES, age 52 of New Bern, North Carolina, HODGES admitted to stealing the items from Potter Trucking. After a search of the vehicle, deputies found items from a separate business in Reelsboro, Dixon Heating and Air. HODGES then admitted to stealing the property from Dixon Heating and Air. HODGES was arrested and charged with (2) counts of Larceny and (1) count of Driving while License Revoked (DWLR). HODGES was held on a $5,000.00 secured bond and placed in the Pamlico County Detention Center.
On Wednesday, May 06, 2015, at approximately 1:00pm, Investigators with the Pamlico County Sheriff’s Office were looking for Terrelle GREENE, age 26 of Bayboro, North Carolina, to question GREENE about a recent residential breaking and entering that occurred in Pamlico County. A Pamlico County Sheriff’s Investigator notices GREENE sitting in a vehicle located in the Hardee’s parking lot in Alliance. The investigator approached GREENE as he was inside the vehicle. Upon approaching the vehicle, the Investigator noticed a quantity of marijuana inside a small Tupperware container and a set of scales in the cup holder of the vehicle. GREENE was asked to step out of the vehicle. When GREENE exited the vehicle, GREENE attempted to flee the scene on foot. After a short altercation with GREENE, GREENE was apprehended. After a search of the vehicle and GREENE, Investigators located 21 grams of Heroin with a street value of $6,300.00, 12 grams of Marijuana with a street value of $1,000.00 and $722.00 in cash. GREENE was arrested and charged with (2) counts of Trafficking Heroin, (1) count of Possession with intent to Sale/Deliver Marijuana, (1)count of Maintaining a Vehicle, and (1) count of Resist/Obstruct/Delay. GREENE was held on a $500,000.00 secured bond and placed in the Pamlico County Detention Facility.
BAYBORO – Pamlico County Sheriff Chris Davis, on the job for just over three months, came across as a no nonsense law enforcer during a Tuesday night public meeting attended by 30 people – mostly Bayboro citizens.
Davis, who defeated a 12-year incumbent in the November elections, repeatedly drove home three major points:
- A complete restructuring of both the Sheriff’s Department and the Jail is underway
- Enforcement of the law is his main focus and highest priority
- Proper training of deputies and equipping them properly, to include reliable vehicles,
are essential to fulfill the mission of his department.
Davis, the nation’s youngest sheriff, pulled few punches when he discussed the status of the jail and the Sheriff’s Department, which came under his supervision immediately after being sworn in on Dec. 1.
“There was really no structure at all in the Sheriff’s Department,” said Davis. “We got rid of several clerical staffers, and have added four additional deputies. And, we eliminated the position of secretary to the Sheriff and turned that money into salary for a deputy.”
He later added: “There was upwards of $18,000 in cash in the Department’s evidence room, which really should have been forwarded to the schools for their use. Since I came in, we’ve gotten court orders approving releases for much of that money.”
Davis stressed the need for rigorous, on-going law enforcement training.
“We’ve had zero dollars allotted each year for the training of our law enforcement officers,” he said.
Davis cited statistics, which show drug arrests during the first three months of his term “are up 78 percent over where they were during the same period last year” and he credited the department’s two drug investigators.
“Those guys are young and they are determined to enforce the law,” said Davis. “We’re running an undercover drug operation right now in Pamlico County and it doesn’t matter if everyone knows it. Maybe then these criminals will leave and go somewhere else.”
Kenneth Bell, a well-known pastor in Bayboro who ministers to a predominantly black church located on Water Street, was largely supportive of Davis.
“From Miami to New York City, everyone knows Water Street is a hot bed of drug activity,” said Bell, “but we’re better off now on Water Street than we were.” Bell later added that the problem is far from over: “There’s not quite as much business there as Walmart, but it’s just as steady.
Addressing Davis directly, Bell seemed to speak for many of his fellow citizens.
“We’ll be working with you, Sheriff Davis, and we hope you’ll continue to be accessible.”