Stars in Retirement
Posted on 02 May 2023 @ 19:27 by Sheriff R. Thomas Durland Jr.
550 words; about a 3 minute read
Location: Williams County, North Carolina
Timeline: 03 APR 2023, 0901
"Three-oh-one, Justice," Sheriff Tom Durland called over the radio and then released the button, waiting for the response from dispatch. He'd just started the navy blue unmarked 2021 Chevy Tahoe he had claimed as his own when his department purchased it and was going in service for his drive to the office. Durland had retired from federal service and moved from Virginia to North Carolina's Outer Banks to enjoy the oceanfront and a boat in retirement.
Instead, the man, much to his wife's annoyance, got wrapped up in the local and then county politics and ran for Sheriff, winning in a landslide, much to the upset of the incumbents from the two counties that were joined together to form Williams County.
When Sheriff Durland moved to the Outerbanks, both Currituck and Dare counties were struggling financially. Both counties were in the red for two to three years each. Currituck had already defaulted on some loans, and its credit rating had dropped below acceptable ratings. The county government was in upheaval and sometimes failed to make payroll. It was a crisis, and it was unacceptable for governments with considerable income from vacation and rental properties and plenty of oceanfront property to offer.
A new political group had been formed for which Sheriff Durland had gotten involved soon after arriving in the area. They had come up with a solution to dissolve both the governments of Currituck and Dare counties and to reform as a single county. This would do various things to help the local economy and government and serve the people better.
First, federal and even state grants were provided to the county to support this change. Second, it would require all new elections to cleanse the new county government of current corruption and mistakes. Third, it would increase the tax base to provide better services at a cheaper widespread cost than the same services the existing two counties had to support separately. After two years of intense fighting in the courts and at county and local government meetings, the referendum went to vote. It passed, dissolving Currituck and Dare counties and forming Williams County.
Durland had been asked to join the county government as one of its commissioners but declined. Instead, he made it known and ran against the two previous incumbents of Dare and Currituck county sheriff offices for the position of Sherrif. Being elected as the very first sheriff and had the massive task of transitioning the two counties and some smaller municipal agencies into a cohesive premier law enforcement agency to serve all of the new Williams County.
"Three zero one," the female voice of the dispatcher responded.
"Good morning shield one in service," he announced, putting the radio microphone back on the magnet mount as his mind returned to the events leading up to this morning.
It was hard to believe that all that had occurred just over five years ago. That he was four months into his second four-year term as Sheriff. He loved his job and how good life was, even though he had stars on his collar instead of not bothering with a collar at all.
As he put the tahoe in reverse, a smile appeared on his face, and the dispatcher's response wishing the sheriff a good morning was not even noted.