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‘Emotional Roller-Coaster’

WINTON – Some are born with a knack of working well with the general public. Doug Brinkley falls into that category.

For 15 years, Brinkley served the citizens of Hertford County as Rural Public Works Director. During a six-year span, Brinkley earned the respect and confidence of Ahoskie citizens by serving as a town council member.

Now, Brinkley holds one of the key positions within Hertford County, that of a magistrate. He was honored for that duty recently when Chief District 6B Judge Alfred Kwasikpui presented Brinkley with his five-year service award.

“If they let me stay, I’ll do this job until I retire,” Brinkley said. “I really enjoy this line of work.”

For Brinkley, becoming a magistrate wasn’t an attempt to change careers. As it was with his positions in Hertford County and Ahoskie, he remains a public servant.

“I became involved in the judicial system through my job with Public Works,” he said. “Plus I always had a strong interest in this type of work, so when the job came open I applied.”

Brinkley had the credentials to support his bid to become a magistrate. He holds an undergraduate degree from East Carolina University (Class of 1985).

In October of 2001, District 6B Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Cy Grant appointed Brinkley to the position and the love and respect the Ahoskie native had for his fellow citizens of Hertford County began anew.

“This job is an emotional roller-coaster,” Brinkley said. “One minute you’re dealing with an individual that hasn’t made a wise decision in life and has thus affected their life as well as their family’s life. Then you have a couple come before you to enter in the bonds of matrimony and spend the rest of their lives together.”

For Brinkley and the other five full-time magistrates in Hertford County, they are the first line of the judicial system that the general public sees.

“We begin the process,” Brinkley said. “We hear the evidence to see if there is probable cause. I’m very fortunate to work and learn from those involved in the judicial process here in Hertford County. From a magistrate’s standpoint, I couldn’t have picked a better group of five individuals to work with.”

If there’s one downside to the job, it’s that living and working in a small rural county you know basically everyone.

“I got to know a lot of people during my 15 years with the county and six years on the Ahoskie Town Council,” Brinkley noted. “If I don’t know them personally, it’s probably a safe bet that I know someone in their family.” That makes for some uncomfortable moments at times, but you remain professional. You have a job to do and the person sitting across the table knows that. All they want to be is to be treated fairly and with respect and that’s what I always strive to do.”