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Sheriff Chip Hughes: “Fairfield Harbour has one of the lowest crime rates in Craven County”

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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Fairfield Harbour Community Center

One hundred-plus residents attended a packed Community Center to welcome our neighbor and Sheriff, Chip Hughes. The Sheriff spoke for around forty minutes about many topics, then opened the floor for questions.

Crime: “Fairfield Harbour has one of the lowest crime rates in Craven County. I patrol the Harbour every day." Sheriff Chip Hughes.

Animal Shelter: A particularly emotional subject was the proposal for the Sheriff's Office to manage the Craven Pamlico Animal Services Center, the shelter on Old Airport Road. Many concerned citizens have started a campaign to have the local animal shelter to be put under the domain of the Sheriff's Office rather than the Health Department. Sheriff Hughes loves all animals and wants to improve animals' quality of life and care in his Office. There is a petition in the POA office for residents to register their support of this initiative.

Drug Problems: Drugs brought into Craven County, mainly from Mexico, were also an eye-opening education. Heroin, meth, and other opiates with thousands of street-level doses have been confiscated thanks to the combined efforts of Sheriff Hughes and other regional law enforcement agencies. But stopping the distribution of these drugs is an ongoing struggle.

Most urgently important is the use of adding fentanyl to marijuana. Many teenagers and young adults are dying from this deadly mix. Weed by itself is not typically lethal. But the addition of fentanyl causes almost immediate death. These drugs are coming up freely across the southern border from Mexico. And as long as there is demand for them, there will continue to be supplied. So scary!

School Resource Officers (SRO): Public schools' critical need for School Resource Officers (SRO) was another subject covered. These deputies are fully trained and equipped and offer the personality traits that do well with children. They are not only present at schools to assist with securing them, but they work closely with staff and administrators, often providing or participating in after-school activities, tutoring, and other close contacts with the students. School threats are taken very seriously, and there are SRO in every public school in Craven County.

Mental Health issues: Craven County has Mental Health Rehabilitation Program. Medical centers and community-based clinics provide inpatient and outpatient mental health services. Specialized programs such as intensive case management, day centers and work programs, and psychosocial rehabilitation are also provided.

There are over 300 registered sex abusers in Craven County. We keep up with them, but it is challenging due to the amount of them and our limited resources.

Drinking and Driving: Craven County is 24th in the state for alcohol fatalities. Craven County Sheriff’s Office has zero tolerance for drinking and driving.

No texting while driving law: NC has a no texting law; you may look at the phone for directions or answer the phone.

Gun Control: Sheriff Hughes said that NC does not require guns to be registered, but the background checks for gun purchases are stringent. He encourages concealed carry permits. Sheriff Hughes noted that concealed carry permits could be revoked when the concealed carry law is violated.

Staff: Currently, there are 105 sworn deputies under the Sheriff's Office. Sheriff Hughes quickly added that his Office did not shut down for COVID. They continued to take face-to-face meetings (with precautions) while some Sheriff's Offices shut down during COVID. Hughes stressed how he insists all law enforcement officers treat everyone with respect. Sheriff Hughes works closely with all surrounding counties, local officers, and police chiefs to prevent crime. Volunteer opportunities are available.

For more information on Sheriff Chip Hughes and the Craven County Sheriff's Department, log onto:

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