Sheriff takes oath of office

Published 6:10 pm Friday, January 3, 2020

Courtroom filled with family, friends, colleagues

COURTLAND

The Southampton County Circuit Courtroom on Monday was filled with people for the swearing-in of its new sheriff, Josh A. Wyche Sr. There to perform the ceremony was Judge Westbrook Parker. Standing right beside the inductee was Wyche’s spouse, Lorraine. His children and grandchildren sat nearby as front-row witnesses to the occasion.

In a statement he released to the paper, Sheriff Wyche said, “I stand before you with great humility; accepting the duty as Sheriff of Southampton County and the City of Franklin. I stand before you as an advocate for the safety and well-being of the great citizens of these communities. To you, the citizens of Southampton County and the City of Franklin, I say thank you. Thank you for entrusting in me the opportunity to help make our communities safe.”

He acknowledged that he’s the first African-American sheriff in the history of both the county and City of Franklin, “but most importantly, I was elected by the citizens, for the citizens.”

Wyche later shared his thoughts about the event with The Tidewater News.

“I thought, ‘This is just a great day! There was lots of people, but it wasn’t about me. It was about the kids.”

Wyche explained that whenever the opportunity presents itself to speak with children or teenagers he encourages them “to be whatever you want to be.”

Related to that is what the sheriff said will be one of the biggest goals of his office, which is to interact much more with them. Developing a positive relationship between law enforcement and youth can be a way to show that the deputies, police, etc., are “not the bad guys.”

Salutes of appreciation were made to retired sheriff Vernie W. Francis Jr., who first game Wyche the opportunity to join his office, adding, “I had the pleasure of working under his leadership for 27 years.” Further, “to Sheriff J.B. “Jack” Stutts, thank you! I had the pleasure of being under the leadership of Sheriff Stutts for the past eight years and I would like to thank him for believing in me and for pushing me to my full potential.”

Finally, Wyche thanked his colleagues and all else present, “To my Southampton County Sheriff’s Office family, to you, you and you, thank you for coming out today to not only witness this historic event, but for being a part of this momentous celebration. Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress and working together is success.”