Davie sheriff stepping down Dec. 31

Published 7:51 pm Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Davie County Sheriff Andy Stokes ambled to the podium with that unmistakable gait. Forty plus years of fighting the bad guys under his belt, he announced Monday evening to county commissioners that he is retiring at the end of the year.

He said he was humbled, and gave thanks to the Lord, asking commissioners and those in the audience to bow their heads with him.

He told how on that cold, early morning on Dec. 6, 2006, the then newly-elected sheriff got up for work and it hit him like a rock.

“I realized that I was responsible for the safety of over 40,000 people,” he said. Stokes and his wife, Jewell, stood on the outside steps and prayed before leaving for work that day.

He had retired from a career with the N.C. Highway Patrol, but that was different than being responsible for the safety of a county – of your friends and neighbors.

Stokes said being a sheriff isn’t nearly as tough as being a sheriff’s wife. He’s thankful, he said, that Jewell is willing to take him back home.

The sheriff’s department is in good hands, he said. “Public safety should be, and is in Davie County, the No. 1 priority. Davie County has a fine a sheriff’s office in a small county as there is in North Carolina.”

Officers are trained and dedicated, and equipment is improved, Stokes said.

Board chair Terry Renegar had a simple reply. “Job well done. We can’t say enough for what you’ve done for Davie County. Those will be some big shoes to fill.”

Commissioner Mark Jones called Stokes a working sheriff, which he was. He would show up on a routine call, or a serious incident. He would be on I-40 helping direct traffic. When an emergency call came in, if he was at the sheriff’s office, his car often would be the first to leave the parking lot.

“As a commissioner and a citizen … there cannot be any greater honor than to say he is a working sheriff. He’s been a true leader of his department, and he hasn’t done that behind a desk.”

Commissioner John Ferguson said Stokes improved the sheriff’s department. “He’s done the things that have made Davie County a much safer situationi than before he came.”

According to state law, county commissioners appoint a sheriff to fill Stoke’s unexpired term, about two years. They must act on the executive committee recommendation from the Davie County Republican Party. Stokes was a Republican.

If the office becomes vacant before commissioners appoint a replacement, the chief deputy, in this case J.D. Hartman, would fill the role of sheriff until the appointment is made.