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Jenkins named Nash Sheriff

NASHVILLE – Sheriff Richard “Dick” Jenkins was ushered into office Monday with prayers, salutations and a standing ovation.

Jenkins is a Rich Square native and a graduate of Rich Square High School. He has three brothers still living in Northampton County n Whitey Jenkins and Floyd Jenkins, both of Conway, and Andy Jenkins of Jackson.

In a courtroom filled to standing room only, for a special ceremonial session of Superior Court, the former State Highway Patrol trooper pledged to “do things the right way” in his service to the citizens of Nash County.

Jenkins will serve a one-year term, following a rare appointment to the post by the Nash County Board of Commissioners, who chose Jenkins to replace retiring Sheriff Jimmy Grimes. 

Grimes announced his resignation in October after 11 years as sheriff.

Jenkins has said he plans to file to run for election to the office.

“I’m just an old country boy,” Jenkins said after taking the oath of office. “What you see is what you get.”

Noting the crowded courtroom, Nash County Clerk of Court Rachel Joyner, in her official welcome and recognition of special guests, said, “If this is an indication of the stature of this man, then you are to be honored and you are honored. 

“This is a new year and we have chance to start over,” Joyner said. “And we have that chance with a wonderful man.”

Superior Court Judge Quentin Sumner presided over the ceremonial court session and also administered the oath of office.

Numerous law enforcement officials from throughout the region, including sheriffs from surrounding counties and a contingent of State Highway Patrol officers, were present along with many elected officials. 

But the emphasis of the afternoon was on family and friends, with several introductions made to recognize them.

“There are a few people not here that I would have loved to been here,” Jenkins said, pausing for an emotional moment, before mentioning his parents, a grandchild and other family members who have passed away. “Well, they are with us anyway… they are here, upstairs.”

Jenkins has an extensive history in law enforcement, serving as a North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper from 1965-1995.

Following a one-year stint as a criminal justice instructor for the community college system, Jenkins held the position of Major with the Nash County Sheriff’s Office from 1996-2003.

For the past two years, Jenkins has served the community college system as a defensive and precision driving instructor.

Now as Nash County Sheriff, Jenkins will oversee a department of 120-plus employees and control a $7.5 million budget.

Jenkins’ educational experience includes North Carolina State University, Northwestern University and the FBI National Academy.

(Editor’s Note: This story is being reprinted, with a few additions, with permission of The Nashville Graphic.)