Retired trooper wants to be sheriff
Published 6:27 pm Friday, February 8, 2019
John Brown, a retired Virginia State Trooper for 28 years, has declared his intention to seek the office of Southampton County Sheriff now that the current sheriff, J.B. Stutts, has announced his intention to retire at the end of the year.
Brown, who lives in Newsoms, said he’s served in law enforcement for over 30 years in North Carolina and Virginia. In addition to being on the VSP SWAT Team for 13 years, other experience includes working for two years each at the police department in Weldon, North Carolina; and as deputy sheriff in Northampton County of that state.
He is chief investigator for Rivers Correctional Institution, a private federal prison in Winton, North Carolina, and has four people on his staff.
The decision to run for office is two-fold, beginning with personal encouragement.
“Lots of people have asked me,” said Brown, who believes that if elected he could bring about positive changes to improve on the safety and security of the county residents. Examples include working to develop more cooperation with state and city police as well as other law enforcement agencies. Brown would also strive to make the office more efficient in personnel and scheduling hours, and acknowledged that working in law enforcement can be difficult.
His other reason is even more personal: Even if it seems crazy to other people of wanting to serve, Brown is responding to an inner need.
“It’s some kind of madness in me. It’s a calling,” and he added, “The good Lord called me to serve. I just have a knack of wanting to do it to help people. I have a heart for it … I have a passion for the people of Southampton County and Franklin, and want to do the right thing by them.”
He’s planning a town hall meeting in Newsoms and hopes people will come to ask tough questions.
The candidate is not alone in his own family when it comes to working in law enforcement; he has three uncles, one of whom is a police officer that served as a role model.
His parents are Alton Brown of Conway, North Carolina; Sally Bowser of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina; and sister Joanne Hale lives in Gaston, North Carolina.
“My family’s always been supportive [of his career]. Sure, my mom worried. She still does,” added Brown, whose own family includes his wife, Tracy, a teacher at Riverdale Elementary School; daughter Makayla Brown is a senior at SHS and studying for her Firefighter I certification; and son Andrew is a freshman at the high school.
“I’ve done well professionally, and made good career choices,” he said. “I’m sure there’ll be competition [for the office], but I’m willing and up for the task.”
Although Brown has declared his intention, the Southampton County Registrar’s Office has not yet received completed applications.
The deadline to file to be on the ballot is Tuesday, June 11, at 7 p.m. Contact Registrar Lynn Burgess at 653-9280 for details.
Editor’s note: This version corrects that Brown was deputy sheriff and not sheriff in Northampton County, North Carolina.