CATAWBA COUNTY - The two Republican candidates for Catawba County Sheriff both logged significant time in law enforcement. Both were promoted into leadership roles. And both are vying to replace current Sheriff Coy Reid.

Don Brown is chief of the Newton Police Department. He says he prides himself on honesty and respect.

What piqued your interest to run for office?

“I’m proud of the county that I live in, I’m proud of my profession, I’m proud to say I’m in law enforcement,” Brown said.

The current Newton chief said he had been approached in previous elections, but felt this was the perfect opportunity for him to run.

“I love coming to work, I love what I do. I don’t want to sit down, I want to keep working,” Brown said.

If elected, what changes would you make?

“I want to improve public trust… You do that through operating ethically and honestly, and through transparency,” Brown said. “There are some things you can’t release, but what I can release I will, and keep people informed. Let them know about what we’re doing.”

Brown also stressed professionalism and collaboration as key focal points if he is elected.

One point of collaboration Brown emphasized was the LEAD program, an acronym for “Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion.”

Brown said if elected, he wants to bring the sheriff’s office into the initiative.

“I do believe drug dealers belong in jail… I don’t believe addicts do if they’re not dealing drugs,” Brown said.

Brown said the current programs in jail do not have the proper measures to rehabilitate addicts behind bars. “You just keep them off the street for a little while, and they go right back to where they were,” Brown said.

What would be your top priority as sheriff?

“To make sure that we serve the entire county,” Brown said.

“I’ve said it at all my events; I’ve said ‘I want to make sure we serve everyone.’ No matter their status, no matter how much money they have or don’t have. It doesn’t matter to me what community they’re in, I want to make sure everybody is served.”

What’s the best advice you’ve received?

“I go back to what my dad always said, which is, ‘Do the right thing.’”

What sets you apart from your opponent?

Brown cited his experience and education, and “my ability to collaborate with other people, other agencies, other department heads.”

“I think that’s something that, first of all he doesn’t have the experience at,” Brown said. “I have those traits.”

If elected you would oversee a much bigger area with a larger volume of calls and supervise many more employees. How would you handle the increase in responsibility after being in Newton for over 20 years?

“I don’t think it would be much of an adjustment, to be quite honest. It’s all relative to your command staff,” Brown said. “If you have a command staff in place that deals with all the different areas, you get the right people in the right places.”

Brown also said due to his time in Newton and work with the sheriff’s office, he’s familiar with much of the staff already there.

What would you want on your tombstone?

“Good husband, father and friend”

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Max Seng is the crime reporter for the Hickory Daily Record. ​Follow him on Twitter @HDRmaxseng

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