Race for sheriff draws early announcementsPublished 10:16pm Saturday, February 16, 2013
In the early months of 2013, two contenders are already gearing up for what could be a heated race for Beaufort County sheriff next year.
Donald Dixon, former sheriff’s deputy and owner of Pirate Investigations, and retired sheriff’s office Chief Deputy Harry Meredith Jr. have announced their intentions to run for the office. Four-term Sheriff Alan Jordan confirmed he would not be seeking reelection in 2014.
While candidates do not file to run until early next year, Meredith said he wanted to let people know early on.
“I wanted to put my name out and give myself plenty of time and see how the people of Beaufort County react,” Meredith said.
Dixon said Meredith’s announcement at the Beaufort County Republican Club’s meeting in late January, spurred him into action, as well.
Dixon, a Beaufort County native, served as a patrol officer, sergeant and corporal during his tenure at the sheriff’s office. Since he left the agency in 2003, he has worked as a private investigator in addition to working in his family’s heating and air business before starting his own business. Dixon ran against Jordan in the 2010 race. According to Dixon, a rising crime rate is one of the more pressing issues in Beaufort County.
“The crime rate is going up, while in other counties it’s going down,” Dixon said. “One of the biggest reasons for that is poor management — not enough deputies where they should be; too many people riding desks.”
In a written statement, Dixon said, “I will work for the citizens of Beaufort County. If you call for assistance, you will be greeted by a deputy, investigator, or the sheriff —you will not get a letter in the mail giving you excuses or passing blame. I will protect the resources at my disposal to assure they are not wasted. It is my goal to improve the quality of living and overall safety of our homes and families in Beaufort County.”
While Meredith retired from the sheriff’s office in late 2011 after a 27-year career in law enforcement, he said he’s ready to return. He started his career with the City of Washington, served in Durham as a patrolman then detective in Homicide and Violent Crimes Division, returned to Washington and the sheriff’s office as chief of investigations before he was appointed chief deputy in 2004.
He described his retirement as taking a few years to focus on personal interests before taking up the law enforcement reins again.
“I just want to return to public service — that’s what I’ve done my entire adult life, either in law enforcement or teaching (it),” Meredith said.
Meredith said the main issue to affect Beaufort County leading up to the 2014 election is the prospect of a new jail facility; that the $20- or $30-million price tag means the right people looking hard at the details, so that it’s built right.
In a written statement to the press, Meredith said, “I feel my education, training and experience make me the most qualified individual to lead this office. Additionally, I want to continue to improve the high level of service and professionalism achieved under Sheriff Jordan.”
Both Dixon and Meredith are registered Republicans. A May primary is ahead should both file to run for sheriff next year.