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Woodland remembers ‘Chief Joe’

WOODLAND – A special ceremony opened the Woodland Board of Commissioners meeting Thursday night.

Just before the board convened for business, Mayor Margaret Burgwyn, Police Chief Don Ryan and members of the board presented Joyce White with a framed uniform worn by her late husband, Police Chief Joe White.

White, who later became Chief of Police in Rich Square, was killed in the line of duty five years ago last month. The town board, at Ryan’s suggestion, agreed earlier this year to honor White by having the uniform framed for his wife and presenting the hat he wore to his grandson, J.C. Henry III.

&uot;Approximately 24 years ago, Joe White came to Woodland as Police Chief,&uot; Burgwyn said. &uot;I know everyone in this town had at least one experience with him.&uot;

The mayor then relayed a story of her first official encounter with White, when he caught her going the wrong way on a one-way street. He followed her to her destination and then got out of the car.

&uot;He said, ‘Ms. Burgwyn I know you’re not going to make a habit out of what I just saw you do,’&uot; Burgwyn related. &uot;He could have embarrassed me and made an example out of me and he certainly had every right to do so.

&uot;He didn’t because he treated people with dignity,&uot; she added.

As Burgwyn continued, she and others in the gathered crowd became emotional.

&uot;Five years ago, Chief White left us – with some help and we miss him,&uot; the mayor said. &uot;We miss him and we will continue to miss him.&uot;

At that point, the mayor and members of the board presented his widow, Joyce, with a framed Woodland Police uniform. Following that presentation, Chief Ryan presented C.J. with the actual hat worn by Chief White.

Joyce White thanked the mayor and town board for the recognition of her late husband and said she would treasure the items given to her.

Chief White’s daughter, Cynthia Moore, also announced there would be a tree planting ceremony in her father’s honor at 10 a.m. Saturday, August 13 at the family cemetery.

In addition to a large number of family and friends, several area law enforcement officers attended the presentation. They included Rich Square Police Chief Bo Royce, North Carolina Highway Patrol Sgt. Kenny Pitts, Jackson Police Chief John Young, Northampton County deputies Greg Colson and George Reed and retired Northampton County Deputy Shelton Skinner.

Later in the meeting, the mayor and town board members thanked Ryan for his suggestion to honor White.