Dixon, Jordan stand-in campaign

Published 10:37 pm Thursday, October 14, 2010

Contributing Ed

By re-electing Democrat Alan Jordan as their sheriff, Beaufort County voters will retain a lawman with years of training and experiences, including 12 years as sheriff, Harry Meredith, Jordan’s chief deputy, said at the Washington Daily News candidates forum Tuesday.
Jordan was unable to attend the forum because of a prior commitment.
Republican Donald Dixon, who’s challenging Jordan for the sheriff’s badge, cited his 25 years ad a business owner as one of his qualifications to be sheriff, noting that the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office operates with a large budget.
“That’s what’s going to be important in this race,” Dixon said in his opening remarks at the forum held in the auditorium in Building 8 on the Beaufort County Community College Campus.
Dixon said that, under Jordan, the sheriff’s office spends money like it “gets money from a magic money tree.”
Jordan is best known for his narcotics work during his law-enforcement career, Meredith said in his opening remarks. Jordan and the sheriff’s office have earned national credentials and accreditation, he said.
“He serves as a mentor to other sheriffs in North Carolina,” Meredith said.
“The first thing to do is get people on the road,” Dixon said when asked what should be done to lower the crime rate in the county.
“When the majority of your people are brand new people, what good are they?” Dixon said, adding that inexperience hurts crime-prevention efforts.
Dixon said the sheriff’s office under Jordan is more reactive than proactive when it comes to fighting crime.
“Right now, everything’s a knee-jerk reaction,” Dixon said.
Currently, there are too many deputies sitting behind desks at the sheriff’s office, Dixon said.
Jordan and the sheriff’s office will continue to work with people in the community in a joint effort to fight crime, Meredith said. Decreasing the crime rate will take combined efforts of the community and the sheriff’s office, Meredith said, adding that Jordan, overall, has a good working relationship with community leaders.
“We’ve been looking and been able to hire some people” who will be spending time on road patrols throughout the county, Meredith noted. Those new deputies are well-trained and will continue to receive training to make them better deputies, he said.
Because Beaufort County is a large county divided by a wide body of water, it’s difficult to adequately cover every part of the county, Meredith said. The deputies who do patrol throughout the county are prepared to handle what they may encounter, he said.
Responding to an audience member’s question about why Jordan did not attend the forum, Meredith explained that Jordan’s wife, Tina, is experiencing some health problems and that Jordan “is in Chapel Hill trying to find some answers.”
Dixon, who expressed sympathy for Tina Jordan’s health problems, responded to the question by saying, “I understand the sheriff never attends these events.”
In his closing remarks, Meredith said Jordan has worked with the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners to “provide you with a flagship agency you can be proud of.”
During his closing remarks, Dixon said the county’s crime rate has increased each year since Jordan has been sheriff. Dixon said Jordan is “wasting money on things that don’t work.”
“We have too much brass in the (sheriff’s) office,” he concluded.