How deep is the ‘sting’

Published 5:46 pm Sunday, May 3, 2015

“I do solemnly and sincerely swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States; that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the State of North Carolina, and to the constitutional powers and authorities which are or may be established for the government thereof; and that I will endeavor to support, maintain and defend the Constitution of said State, not inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States, to the best of my knowledge and ability; so help me God.”

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will be alert and vigilant to enforce the criminal laws of this State; that I will not be influenced in any matter on account of personal bias or prejudice; that I will faithfully and impartially execute the duties of my office as a law enforcement officer according to the best of my skill, abilities, and judgment; so help me, God.”

On Dec. 1, 2014 at the Cultural & Wellness Center in Jackson, all deputies working with the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office raised their right hand and took the aforementioned oath. Afterwards they placed their signatures on the bottom of documents bearing the words of those oaths. Each document was also signed by the local Chief District Court Judge.

In the wake of Thursday’s news that a two-year undercover sting operation by the FBI resulted in 54 criminal indictments levied against 15 individuals, to include five current Northampton deputies, it’s clear that those law enforcement officers had no intention to live by the words within their oath of office.

Northampton County citizens trusted these men to “protect and serve.” Instead they chose to allegedly break the same laws they were sworn to uphold.

The indictments against deputies Ikeisha Jacobs, Jason Boone, Jimmy Pair Jr., Curtis Boone, and Thomas Jefferson Allen II include accusations of extortion, drug possession/distribution, money laundering, and bribery. We would normally associate such charges with mob activity, not law enforcement officers.

When the suddenness of this shocking news wears off, Northampton County citizens will be angry, and they have every right to feel that way. These are men who, up until Thursday, carried a badge and were respected for their work. And that work was paid for by Northampton taxpayers…regular citizens who go about their everyday business of legally providing for their families.

But there’s a deeper side of these indictments that could quite possibly provide an even bigger cause for alarm.

If these deputies were allegedly “on the take” by way of protecting narcotics shipments and cash proceeds during transit along the East Coast, then what else is in their closet?

Is it possible they were involved criminally in other local cases? Did they accept bribes or a piece of the action in an effort to protect local criminals from prosecution? How deep does this go….it’s something worth studying by our federal, state and local law enforcement officers who still adhere to their oath.

And Thursday’s news comes could not have come at a worse time for the Northampton Sheriff’s Office, or any of our Roanoke-Chowan area lawmen, considering that all law enforcement officers across the nation are already under heavy scrutiny for the actions of a few of their brethren on particular cases.

While we support those hard-working lawmen that go about their daily duties with the highest level of professionalism, all it takes is the improper tactics or bad decisions used by a few rotten apples to tarnish the badges of those who take their oath of office seriously.

– The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald