Local News

Cumberland County chief deputy sheriff to assume role Sunday; new sheriff appointed Jan. 3

Posted December 30, 2016

— After 22 years of service, Cumberland County Sheriff Earl "Moose" Butler will retire at 11:59 p.m. on December 31.

Under N.C. General Statutes, Chief Deputy Sheriff Ennis Wright will perform all the duties of the sheriff until the county commissioners appoint someone to fill the unexpired term. Wright, 57, has been with the Sheriff's Office for 20 years.

The Board of Commissioners plans to appoint a new sheriff on Jan. 3, 2017, during its regular meeting. The person appointed by the county commissioners will complete Butler’s term, which ends in 2018.

According to the Fayetteville Observer, the commissioners are set to choose from 10 candidates, including Wright, who are vying for the office of sheriff. The others candidates are Charlie Baxley, Denny Davis, Glenn Mobley, Elvira Patricia Petty, Carlton Sallie, John Sawyer, Ronnie Smith, Ronald Starling and LaRue Windham.

County Commissioner Jimmy Keffe said he has spoken with seven of the ten candidates. 

"It gives you a lot of insight about the capabilities and the direction that some of these people want to take the sheriff's office in," Keffe said.

Butler said he is not happy that not all of the commissioners are not on board with his choice of Wright as successor.

"This is not a police chief appointment,” he said. “This is a constitutional office, a man who has served in this officer for 20 years and has proven to be a leader. I don't think there should be any question at all who should be appointed."

Wright said he is ready for the job.

"I know my capabilities. I know the sheriff has full faith in me. If...he didn't think I was up to the job he wouldn't put me out front here," Wright said.

Chairman Glenn Adams recognized Butler Friday for his leadership, which included achieving international accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for the Sheriff’s Office consistently since 1998.

Adams said the commissioners wanted to assure citizens that under the leadership of Wright, the Sheriff’s Office will continue to operate smoothly and ensure the safety of residents during this holiday weekend.

Wright encouraged citizens to be safe over the New Year’s holiday weekend and to not drink and drive.

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