BRUNSWICK COUNTY — Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram, V has served the Sheriff’s Office for 27 years.
Ingram has served as sheriff for 10 years, after being appointed to the role in 2008, following the arrest of former Sheriff Ron Hewett. After being elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014, Ingram is running for a third term.
Below are Ingram’s answers to Port City Daily’s questions:
Brunswick County has seen several high-ranking political officials convicted or arrested for crimes relating to their time in office over the last few decades. Why?
That is a difficult question to answer as it has nothing to do with the county, but the people involved. I can assure the people of Brunswick County they may vote me out of office, but I will not be removed from office for criminal activity.
What was successful about the department’s Hurricane Florence response?
The most important thing is that we had no hurricane-related deaths in Brunswick County. Keeping people safe was the most important thing and we accomplished that by being available even during the most dangerous parts of the storm in which we conducted rescues, transported essential medication and supplies, and emergency evacuations. We also kept the public informed via social media about advisories, dangerous road conditions, and other important information aimed to keep the community safe.
What exactly would you change about the way the department reacted to
I can’t put into words how proud I am of the men and women of the [Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office] BCSO. Though not everything was perfect, I would change very little about the way we handled things. Everyone worked extremely hard at keeping the citizens of Brunswick County safe. We had people working countless hours in their assigned tasks whether it was conducting rescue missions, or cooking three meals per day for hundreds of first responders and essential personnel – all without one complaint. It was extremely humbling to witness how everyone came together to make sure everything ran as seamlessly as it possibly could. To say I am extremely proud would be an understatement.
Did the department have all the resources it needed to adequately respond to
I feel we did. We are fortunate to have a supportive Board of Commissioners and County Manager who listens to our needs and makes decisions based on what is best for the safety and security of our deputies and the people of Brunswick County. The helicopter, airboat, and high clearance vehicles were crucial in getting people to safety, transporting medications and supplies, and even getting an essential piece of equipment into the county to restore water for thousands of residents. These were invaluable tools that we are incredibly blessed to have.
Do you believe the department has accomplished what it planned to achieve through the Anchor Initiative, the department’s opioid assistance treatment program, so far?
When we first established the program, I said the program would be a success when we have even one person who enters a treatment program and reaches recovery. So far we have helped dozens of people get into treatment, but so far none of them have completed the program. Addiction is a complicated illness and it normally takes several times for someone who is suffering from addiction to complete a program and reach
recovery. We are still hopeful.
Where is the department at in terms of its response to the opioid response? What, if anything, should the department change this year in responding to the opioid crisis?
We will continue to aggressively investigate and arrest those dealers who prey on the vulnerabilities of those suffering from addiction. We will continue to promote the Anchor Initiative Program in an effort to get those who are ready into treatment.
How do you balance resources and ensure short response times in a county as spread out as Brunswick?
We were fortunate that when we approached our Board of Commissioners and County Manager with the need for more deputies due to our growing county, they listened. We are fortunate to have 15 Deputies on each shift. We have the county divided into eight different areas with at least one deputy in each area, plus a supervisor and a sargeant who patrol the entire area. We also have our Special Operations Unit who also patrol the entire county.
Are you comfortable with the department’s current response time?
Yes. I believe we do a very good job at getting deputies to calls in a reasonable amount of time. Many times they have to prioritize the calls based on the urgency of the need, but I am very proud of the way our deputies respond to calls and of our 911 Telecommunicators who get those calls out to them quickly and efficiently.
At this time, Southport’s Police Department is still indefinitely closed. Do you believe Southport’s residents are being adequately and appropriately served under the department’s supervision?
Absolutely. We serve the citizens of Southport the same way we serve all the other residents in the county and we will continue to do so as long as we are needed.
What have Southport residents lost since the Southport Police department indefinitely closed following the arrest of its Police Chief and second-in-command?
The Sheriff’s Office was asked to handle law enforcement activity in the City of Southport and we will continue to do so.
Does the Brunswick County Jail experience occasional overcrowding? What
is the jail’s greatest need at this time?
Not at this time. Our facility has the capacity to hold around 444 inmates. On average, we have around 300-350 of which 40-60 are being housed for state and federal. I would like to modernize some areas our detention facility so that we can care for the inmates even better. Our greatest need in the jail would be additional mental health services which is currently being implemented by a new medical provider.
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