Burnette seeks Sheriff’s seat

Published 9:19 am Monday, January 27, 2014

JACKSON – A veteran law enforcement officer is looking to become the Roanoke-Chowan area’s first female Sheriff.

Brenda Burnette – who was believed to have an interest in becoming Northampton County’s “top cop” – put those rumors to rest on Friday when she officially announced her intentions to seek the Sheriff’s seat.

“My family and I now feel that the time has come for me to seek elected office,” Burnette stated in an email sent to the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. “I want to bring positive changes to the Northampton County Sheriff’s Department by running for sheriff in 2014.

Brenda Burnette

Brenda Burnette

“I have been concerned about integrity, professionalism and respect demonstrated in the Sheriff’s Office and believes there are workable solutions that will address these concerns,” Burnette continued. “I would like to see the Sheriff’s Department return to the level of integrity that will not only boost morale in the department, but return the respect of the public for the Sheriff’s Department to a high level. For this reason, I feel that I must step forward and offer the voters of NorthamptonCounty a choice for positive change.”

Current Northampton Sheriff Jack Smith, who was appointed by the county commissioners last year to serve out the remaining one-year term of former Sheriff Wardie Vincent, told the News-Herald in a recent interview that he would seek a full, four-year term during the 2014 election cycle.

Burnette served as Captain of the Investigations Unit under Vincent, and then Smith, before retiring last year.

The Jackson native began her law enforcement career in 1984, initially hired as a dispatcher under then Northampton Sheriff Bob Corey. As a high school graduate, Burnette split her time between taking classes at Halifax Community College during the day and her dispatch duties at night. Six years later she was sworn in as a Special Deputy after becoming one of the first students to take Basic Law Enforcement Training at Halifax Community College. Once receiving her certification, Burnette still worked as a dispatcher, but took on a part time job as a police officer in Conway.

Then Northampton Sheriff John Wood started Burnette on patrol soon after she gained some experience.

Burnette also worked as a campus police officer for Chowan University in Murfreesboro and from there she went to Weldon Police Department where she was a Lieutenant. She later returned to Northampton, serving as a school resource officer at both county high schools at that time.

She was promoted to Detective Sergeant in 2004, eventually working her way up the law enforcement ladder to the ranks of Lieutenant of Investigations, and then Captain. She was the first female to hold that rank.

“I am a candidate who will lead by example and serve the citizens with respect, professionalism, and integrity,” Burnette promised. “I will enforce strong public safety, safe schools, proactive law enforcement, community involvement, strong drug enforcement, quick and courteous service, and community policing.

“I thank you for your prayers, support, and your vote. I am looking forward to making positive changes in Northampton County. Together we can move forward and not take steps back,” she concluded.

To learn more about Burnette, visit www.teambrenda4sheriff.com.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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