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Sheriff Johnson announces she's retiring June 1

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By William F. West
Staff Writer

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

CURRITUCK — Currituck County’s longtime sheriff and the only remaining registered Democrat to hold office in the county, will be retiring in a couple of weeks.

Sheriff Susan Johnson said in an email Wednesday she plans to retire on June 1.

Johnson, who has been Currituck sheriff since 2000, said she’s stepping down now because she has put in her time “and I am ready to retire and enjoy my family.”

Johnson, the first woman to serve as Currituck sheriff and currently the only female sheriff in the state, declined to seek re-election this year. She instead endorsed her chief deputy, Matt Beickert, a Republican.

Beickert was already on a path to succeed Johnson after defeating retired Norfolk police officer Bob Douros in the May 8 GOP primary, carrying 77 percent of the vote. No Democrat filed for sheriff in the primary.

Johnson began her career with the Currituck Sheriff’s Office in 1989.

In the late 1990s, Sheriff Glenn Brinkley made her his chief deputy. After Brinkley retired in 2000, the Currituck Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to appoint Johnson to complete the remaining two years of his term.

Eddie Caldwell, executive vice president and general counsel at the N.C. Sheriffs’ Association in Raleigh, said Johnson is currently the only woman sheriff in the state. There are several female sheriff candidates on the fall ballot in other counties.

Caldwell said Johnson’s departure will be a loss to the N.C. Sheriffs’ Association.

“She has been a very active and contributing member of the N.C. Sheriffs’ Association,” Caldwell said. “She has regularly attended the meetings and contributed a lot of wisdom to the discussion.”

Caldwell noted Johnson also served a number of years as co-chairwoman of the association’s auditing committee, which is responsible for reviewing the association’s books.

Currituck Board of Commissioners Chairman Bobby Hanig called Johnson a tremendous asset to the county, saying she had done an amazing job leading the sheriff’s office.

“She’s going to be sorely missed,” Hanig said. “It’s been a pleasure having her as my sheriff, for sure.”

According to Caldwell, state law specifies that when a vacancy in a sheriff’s office occurs, the chief deputy in the office will perform the sheriff’s duties until a new sheriff is sworn in.

What’s likely to happen when Johnson retires, Caldwell said, is that the Currituck Board of Commissioners — either that same day or within 30 days — will appoint someone of their choosing to complete the remainder of Johnson’s unexpired term, which ends late this year.

Hanig indicated Wednesday that Currituck commissioners already plan to appoint Beickert as the new sheriff. According to Hanig, Beickert’s appointment, which is scheduled to take place at commissioners’ meeting Monday, will take effect when Johnson’s retirement does.

Hanig said Beickert will have some big shoes to fill as Johnson’s successor.

“She’s leaving things in a good place and a good place for Matt to take over – and move us forward, for sure,” he said.

Beickert could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

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