Remembering ‘Chief Joe’

Published 7:42 pm Sunday, July 20, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This past Wednesday marked the 14th anniversary of the murder of a beloved and respected local law enforcement officer.

Despite that passage of time, the life and legacy of Rich Square Police Chief Joe White remains intact.

Rich Square Police Chief Joseph E. White, Jr. was killed in the line of duty on July 16, 2000.

Rich Square Police Chief Joseph E. White, Jr. was killed in the line of duty on July 16, 2000.

On Friday, Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) introduced legislation in the United States House of Representatives to name the U.S. Post Office in Rich Square the “Chief Joseph E. White, Jr. Post Office Building.”

Chief White, a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Navy and a 20-year law enforcement veteran in Northampton County, was killed in the line of duty during a traffic stop on July 16, 2000.

“Chief Joseph White, Jr. was a patriot, community leader, and a local hero,” Butterfield said. “He personified love, decency and selflessness throughout his 40 year career as a public servant. His service to our nation and to Northampton County should always be remembered and should not be taken lightly. We can pay our tribute to his life and legacy by renaming the Rich Square Post Office in his honor.”

Born and raised in Ahoskie, White joined the U.S. Navy at the age of 18 and served for 20 years before retiring. After his naval career, White entered law enforcement where he served as a Northampton County Deputy Sheriff, a corrections officer, and as Chief of Police for both the Woodland and Rich Square Police Departments.

Throughout his life, White was heavily involved in his community and family. He was a Deacon and Sunday school teacher, as well as a volunteer firefighter for the Woodland Fire Department.

On July 16, 2000, while serving as Chief of Police for the Rich Square Police Department, White was shot and killed five months before his retirement after he stopped a vehicle in the parking lot of the now closed Rich Square Dialysis Center during an investigation of a possible drive-off at a local gas station.

A suspect, then 25-year-old Jason Dwayne Hebert of Carencro, Louisiana, in that murder was arrested May 1, 2003 in his home state. Two years later, Hebert was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

The bill, H.R. 5142, introduced by Butterfield is cosponsored by Representatives Renee Ellmers (NC-02), Walter Jones (NC-03), David Price (NC-04), Howard Coble (NC-06), Mike McIntyre (NC-07), Richard Hudson (NC-08), Robert Pittenger (NC-09), Patrick McHenry (NC-10), and Mark Meadows (NC-11).

The post office facility is located at 113 West Jackson Street, Rich Square.

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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