It's time for the sheriff's office to move forward

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

It took several hours Saturday for the Brunswick County Democratic Party Executive Committee to select its nominee for sheriff. After former sheriff Ronald Hewett resigned from the post following local grand jury indictments on four charges, the Party had 30 days to name a successor.

The field of candidates was diverse. While some had much experience and others less, all candidates vowed they wanted the same thing—to serve and protect the people of Brunswick County.

Although it took several hours and multiple rounds of voting, the committee finally settled on current sheriff’s office chief deputy John Ingram. Now Ingram must await appointment from the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners before he can officially resume the role as the county’s highest-ranking law enforcement officer.

While there were many qualified candidates that applied for the position, we were glad to see a dedicated law enforcement officer, one with a good track record and professional honors, selected for the post. In addition to previously serving both the Brunswick and Columbus counties’ sheriff’s offices, Ingram was also named the state’s Narcotics Officer of the Year in 2001. He has experience as a patrol deputy, leading the narcotics unit and serving as commander of the SWAT team.

Most importantly, it would appear by their reaction at Saturday’s announcement, Ingram has the support of many of those with whom he will work as sheriff. When the announcement was made of Ingram’s nomination, many of the deputies who had watched the morning’s activities erupted in applause.

Ingram was clearly humbled by the nomination and their reaction saying words couldn’t express how he feels.

When the fanfare and political process is over, we hope to see Ingram continue to build solid relationships with the hard working men and women of the sheriff’s office and the good people of Brunswick County.

In light of the past conviction of former sheriff Herman Strong and now the local grand jury indictments and federal charges facing Hewett, the sheriff’s department has suffered enough.

We are looking to Ingram to provide strong leadership and regain the community’s trust in a department that has been led by ethically devoid leaders.

On May 19, commissioners will decide if Ingram officially gets to accept this role. If approved, we’ll be ready to see how the department develops over the coming weeks and months.

We also thank acting sheriff Greg White, Brunswick County coroner, for his assistance in leading the department through this transition.

We’re looking forward to moving on and not looking back at the actions that have disgraced an honorable department.