Webb retires

Published 9:53 am Thursday, August 18, 2016

GATESVILLE – Ed Webb had no plans to seek reelection in 2018 as the Sheriff of Gates County.

Now, an opportunity to land what he referenced as a “dream job” has led the 55-year-old to retire earlier than expected.

On Monday, Webb turned in his letter of retirement to the Gates County Board of Commissioners, thus drawing the curtain on a local law enforcement career that has spanned 32 years, the last 18 of which he spent as the county Sheriff.

“I was already working on a post-retirement plan to go to work for the Vidant Police Department based at the Medical Center in Greenville,” Webb said of his future in 2018. “However, the Vidant Police Chief called and asked if I was ready to go to work now. Well, since I had already planned to retire come 2018, I thought what the heck, I’ll retire a bit earlier than anticipated and take them (Vidant Police) up on their offer. It was an offer I could not turn down.”

But before he informed the county commissioners of his decision, Webb first met on Monday with his staff at the Sheriff’s Office.

“I felt they needed to know of my decision first; I thought that much of them and the work they do for Gates County,” Webb noted.

Webb added that his tentative last day on the job as Gates County Sheriff will be late September or early October. He will then begin training for his new position in Greenville with the Vidant Police.

Gates County Sheriff  Ed Webb

Gates County Sheriff
Ed Webb

“I’ll still be a sworn law enforcement officer and still tote a gun,” he said. “The Vidant Police is a pretty big operation with 104 officers working at eight hospitals here in the eastern part of the state.

“What they’re looking for in me the most is my experience in the certification process that all law enforcement officers have to go through,” Webb continued. “I’ve performed that job a lot over the course of my career.”

Webb’s career began in February of 1985 when he was sworn in as a deputy under then Gates County Sheriff Ray Harrell. Two years later he moved to the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy, and in 1990 began an eight-year career with the Ahoskie Police Department.

In the spring of 1998, Webb defeated incumbent Gates County Sheriff Elmo Benton in the Democratic Primary. He was sworn in as Sheriff in December of that year and went on to win reelection to four additional terms over the ensuring years.

“I’ve loved this county since the day I was born,” Webb stressed. “My roots run deep here. As a child I can remember playing in an empty lot where our courthouse stands today.

“Being elected Sheriff of my home county was the proudest moment of my life and I was proud to serve the citizens of this county,” he added. “Like every other job a man can have, there are ups and downs, but my time in office here has been very rewarding. I still look forward to the start of another day where I can put on my uniform, strap on my gun and go to work.”

Webb said he remembers his first day as Sheriff back in 1998.

“It was me and just one deputy at that time,” he said. “Now we have a staff of 17. We’ve made a lot of changes, all for the better, to this office over the years; the officers are now better equipped and better trained. One of my biggest accomplishments was getting our own 9-1-1 Emergency Dispatch service; we use to rely on Hertford County to dispatch all police, fire and rescue in Gates County.

“I’m proud of my staff,” Webb continued. “I’ve always tried to hire Gates County citizens and many of them have stuck with be, been right by my side for many, many years. I’ve watched them grow as law enforcement officers and I know this department is in good hands when I leave.”

Webb also had kind words for the different commissioners and county managers he’s worked with over the years.

“I’ve always made an effort through our commissioners and our manager to be thrifty with the money coming from the taxpayers of this county,” Webb said. “I know I’ll never recoup, nor do I expect to paid for the nearly 14,000 hours of comp time I’ve built up over the years. I give that time to the county I love.”

Webb said he was looking forward to a new chapter in his life that was more, as he put it, “low stress.”

“I got my years in and I want to enjoy the life I have left. I want to enjoy more free time to hunt and fish, and perhaps go to a NASCAR race. My dream is to hunt in Montana for one of those big white-tail deer,” he concluded.

Webb’s replacement will be named by the Gates County Board of Commissioners. The executive committee of the Gates County Democratic Party (Webb is registered as a Democrat) will make a recommendation to the commissioners for an interim Sheriff to fill the remaining time on Webb’s current term (which ends on Dec. 3, 2018). The commissioners are charged by state statute to name the interim Sheriff.

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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