Currituck officials thank Johnson for service as sheriff

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Currituck Board of Commissioners Chairman Bobby Hanig (left) reads aloud a resolution honoring former Currituck Sheriff Susan Johnson (right) for her more than 28 years of service to the county, Monday.

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By William F. West
Staff Writer

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

CURRITUCK — Currituck County officials honored former Currituck Sheriff Susan Johnson this week for her 28 years of service to the county.

Johnson, who retired at the end of May, attended Monday’s Currituck Board of Commissioners meeting where she was honored with a resolution read aloud by board Chairman Bobby Hanig and presented with several gifts, including fishing gear and a county flag. 

“That is awesome. This is very cool,” Johnson said of the flag, which is blue and contains the county seal. 

“Susan, thank you so much,” Hanig said at the start of the ceremony. “You've been a friend to this county. Your dedication to this county, your service, your commitment, has been lifelong. This county is so much better off than it was before you got here.”

Hanig said he hoped Johnson enjoys her retirement and gets time to do a little fishing.

Johnson, who started as a secretary at the sheriff’s office in 1989 and worked her way up through the ranks to become sheriff in 2000, winning election four times, received a standing ovation from the audience at Monday’s meeting.

The resolution Hanig read noted that when Johnson first reported for work more than 28 years ago, the sheriff's office oversaw law enforcement, central communications and the county detention center. Back then, the resolution noted, Currituck employed 16 sheriff’s deputies, five dispatchers and four detention officers. The detention center’s capacity back then was only 18 prisoners.

The resolution noted that under Johnson’s leadership, the Sheriff’s Office now employs 62 deputies, 30 detention officers and six support staff members. The detention center’s capacity has grown to 63.

"That's incredible," Hanig said.

The resolution went on to note Johnson improved the county and the lives of residents when she established the Sheriff's Citizens Academy, Operation Medicine Drop for the safe disposal of prescription drugs and community watch programs, as well as the Project Lifesaver program to help locate at-risk persons.

Among other achievements, the resolution noted Johnson co-chaired the N.C. Sheriffs' Association Legislative Committee and served on the board of Currituck Kids.

As Hanig continued reading aloud the resolution, he asked Johnson, "How did you have time to fish?"

"I do now," Johnson replied with a laugh.

Commissioner Marion Gilbert told Johnson she had been a friend to every county official.

"And I thank you for not blocking our numbers when we call you," Gilbert quipped, adding “Now, you can, OK?"

Gilbert told Johnson to go and enjoy her time off, noting, “You've paid your dues.”

"Thank you all very much," Johnson said.

Johnson, who was Currituck's last Democratic officeholder, didn’t seek re-election this year. She endorsed her chief deputy, Matt Beickert, a Republican, in his bid to succeed her. Beickert, who won the GOP primary for sheriff on May 8, was appointed to complete the remainder of Johnson’s unexpired term at the end of May. He does not face a Democratic opponent this fall.