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One hurdle cleared

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Federal legislation to honor one of the local area’s most beloved and respected law enforcement officers took a big step forward here Monday in the halls of Congress.

Without opposition, the United States House of Representatives approved H.R. 5142, legislation that if passed by the US Senate and signed by the President will rename the U.S. Post Office in Rich Square as the Chief Joseph E. White, Jr. Post Office Building.

U.S. Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) commended his House colleagues for approving the resolution, a bill he introduced in July of this year.

“For more than 20 years, Chief Joseph White, Jr. served Northampton County with honor and courage,” Butterfield said. “Within law enforcement he was regarded as a courageous leader, and within the larger community as a selfless hero. We show our gratitude for his service and sacrifice by naming the Rich Square Post Office in his honor.”

Born and raised in Ahoskie, Chief White joined the U.S. Navy at the age of 18 and served for 20 years before retiring.  After his naval career, Chief 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, Chief 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, Chief White was shot and killed, just five months before his retirement, after he stopped a vehicle during an investigation of a possible drive-off from 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.

H.R. 5142 was 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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