BRUNSWICK COUNTY — Sheriff John W. Ingram, V is running unopposed for Brunswick County Sheriff. He has served the office since 1991 and took on the top role in 2008.
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Ingram’s stances on issues are discussed below. All answers are included in full and the candidate’s opinions and statements are not a reflection of Port City Daily. Responses are edited only for grammar, spelling and clarity.
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Port City Daily: How do you address safety concerns in Brunswick County schools?
John Ingram (JI): Nothing is more important than the safety and security of our children. BCSO continues to assign some of the “best of the best” deputies in each Brunswick County School to serve as School Resource Officers, plus additional deputies in the high schools. For many law enforcement agencies, SROs are deputies who are at the end of their careers or deputies who aren’t performing well in the field. That is not the case here. Our SROs go through some of the most difficult and intense training to make sure in the event of security situation, they are prepared to protect the students and staff at our schools.
PCD: How should we be addressing the opioid crisis? What does and does not work from your point of view?
JI: I have said over and over, for years we have been fighting the wrong war. It isn’t the war on drugs. It’s the war on addiction. So the approach to addressing the opioid crises isn’t necessarily from a law enforcement perspective, it’s from a mental health perspective. That is why, in 2017, the BCSO established the Anchor Initiative Program which assists those who are ready for treatment, break through the barriers that often keep them from seeking help; money, transportation and lack of knowledge of treatment options. That said, we continue to aggressively go after those criminals who continue to prey on those suffering from addiction and distribute drugs in our community.
PCD: How is the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office planning for population growth?
JI: BCSO works closely with the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners in making sure the Sheriff’s Office is adequately staffed based on the population growth. Adding additional deputies, 911 telecommunicators and Detention Officers to accommodate that growth is crucial to the safety of our county and our commissioners take that very seriously. We are fortunate in our county to have such a supportive Board of Commissioners.
PCD: Law enforcement agencies are having trouble recruiting and retaining in the current hiring climate. How are you ensuring the county is obtaining the best deputies for the area?
JI: The Sheriff’s Office spends a great deal of time and resources on recruiting. Our recruiting team ensures each candidate is vetted thoroughly before proceeding on through the hiring process. Each candidate must sit before a review board and answer questions both from a knowledge and experience perspective. We also conduct background checks and follow up on all references.
PCD: What is and should be done to improve relations between law enforcement and historically marginalized populations?
JI: The BCSO does not view law enforcement in terms of marginalized and non-marginalized populations. We took an oath to protect and serve each and every citizen regardless of their socioeconomic status and that is what we do. We have extremely supportive citizens in each and every community and we do not take that for granted. We believe our community is better when our citizens are working alongside us to ensure the safety of our county. That can only be accomplished through trust and mutual respect.
PCD: Is there an additional issue or issues you think need(s) to be addressed during your term?
JI: There are always things that need to be addressed and ways to better serve our community. We are not an agency that rests on our laurels and are satisfied with status quo. We will continue to have our thumbs on the pulse of this community and ensure we are doing everything we can to address any issues. I certainly believe providing competitive compensation to our deputies, 911 Telecommunicators and Detention Officers is of extreme importance and we are working diligently with our commissioners to make that happen. This is imperative for recruiting the brightest and the best. I also believe safety on our roadways is of the utmost importance. Distracted driving and speeding should be aggressively addressed and we are already developing a plan to accomplish that.
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