Seven vie for Sheriff’s seat

Published 8:48am Thursday, August 1, 2013

JACKSON – Today (Thursday) marks the first time in 35 years that Wardie P. Vincent Sr. wakes up as an average, everyday citizen.

July 31 marked the end of Vincent’s law enforcement career, one that saw the Henrico native spend the past 15 years as Sheriff of Northampton County.

Now, in the wake of Vincent’s early retirement (he had one year remaining on his most current four-year term), the Northampton County Board of Commissioners face the daunting task of naming his replacement, an individual that will serve as Interim Sheriff at least until the November, 2014 General Election.

The Board is expected to reach that decision during their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, Aug. 5. However, the work to fill the vacancy is already under way.

“The Board met last Friday (July 26) and began the process to go over the applications of those who submitted documents to be considered for the position of Interim Sheriff,” stated Northampton County Manager Kenneth Creque. “The Board is continuing to work through that list of candidates and hope to reach an appropriate decision at their meeting on Aug. 5.”

Creque said seven individuals are under consideration. They are, in no particular order:

Marvin L. Moody Sr. – a former member of the Gaston Police Department;

Jack Smith – currently the Chief Deputy of the Nash County Sheriff’s Office and a former member of the State Highway Patrol stationed in Northampton County;

Brenda Burnette – currently the Captain of Investigations with the Northampton Sheriff’s Office;

Christopher T. Buffaloe of the Seaboard Police Department, and Commander of the Conway-Severn Volunteer Rescue Squad;

Gregory S. Colson Sr. of the Jackson Police Department, a former Northampton Sheriff’s Deputy;

Jesse Stevens Jr. – Chief of the Woodland Police Department; and

Eddie M. Buffaloe Sr. – retired deputy from the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office.

“All seven are under consideration while the commissioners work through the list,” Creque said. “The commissioners have scheduled another meeting on Friday (Aug. 2) where they will go into closed session to conduct face-to-face interviews with the candidates.”

According to North Carolina General Statutes, a board of county commissioners stands charged with the duty of naming an Interim Sheriff upon the retirement, resignation or termination of an elected Sheriff who still has time remaining on their current term of office. That decision is required to be reached at the first scheduled meeting of the commissioners following the date of resignation/retirement/termination.

Effective today (Thursday), Daryl Harmon, Chief Deputy of the Northampton Sheriff’s Office, will serve as Acting Sheriff until such time the commissioners reach a decision on the Interim position.

In early May, Vincent formally announced his intentions to retire from office effective July 31.

“It’s been a pleasure to serve the citizens of Northampton County. I’ve enjoyed working with the board, they’ve been very supportive and I’m very happy with what we were able to accomplish over the years,” Vincent said at that time.

Vincent began his lengthy career in 1978 when he was sworn in as a special deputy with the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office. He continued in that position until 1983 when he became a full time deputy. He remained with the county until 1990, leaving to accept the position as Chief of the Garysburg Police Department.

Vincent would eventually return to the Sheriff’s Office. He was sworn in as Sheriff in 1998 and has served in that elected position since that time.

He said even though his career has been extensive it’s been enjoyable. Vincent said he’s been looking to retire for the past year.

“I had decided I would not be running for re-election in 2014 and then I decided it was time now for me to leave,” he said. “I wanted to work through the (2013-14) budget process with my staff and retire after that.”

Despite the rigorous work that law enforcement can bring, Vincent said he is going to miss the everyday unpredictability the position can bring.

“I will definitely miss working with the citizens and my staff, coming to the office on a daily basis and dealing with the many challenges that come with the day,” he said. “I’ll have to adjust to that, but I’ve enjoyed it. I will be supportive to who ever takes over at that point.”

Vincent said plans are in the works to ensure there is work to do, even in retirement.

“I think my wife has plans for me, spend some time with the family and grandchildren, and we have some traveling we want to do,” he said. “It’s been something that I’ve looked forward to for sometime now. Going into retirement is what we all worked for and I’m grateful to get there.”

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