Edgecombe County Sheriff James Knight
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Edgecombe County Sheriff James Knight

Edgecombe sheriff faces primary challenger

By Brie Handgraaf

Staff Writer

9 Comments | Leave a Comment

Edgecombe County Sheriff James Knight and his opponent, political newcomer J. Allen Dennie, agree that getting more participation from members of the community is essential to reducing crime rates.

“I’m a strong proponent of community policing,” Dennie said. “I want the deputies to recognize those people in the neighborhood that live there and recognize when someone doesn’t belong. I want those deputies to recognize that then figure out who that person is and what they are doing there.”

Dennie was an auxiliary deputy working part time for the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office for three decades – including serving as a K-9 officer – while working as a senior architectural planner for Embarq Communications. The Edgecombe County native also has served as chief of the Conetoe Volunteer Fire Department since 1977 and works as a police officer for Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.

Knight started at the sheriff’s office in 1983, rising to the rank of sergeant before being appointed sheriff in 1997 and being re-elected to the post since. He said being in the position for more than a decade has allowed him to build rapport with the residents throughout the county.

“I’m proud that we have an open-door policy that allows the citizens to feel comfortable bringing any issues to us and knowing we are accessible to them at all times,” Knight said.

Dennie said he’d focus on special demographic groups including guarding the senior citizens of the county against scam artists as well as younger residents by combating gangs and drugs. While school resource officers would not be assigned to the county’s elementary and middle schools on a full-time basis, Dennie said he’d like to have deputies stop by and patrol these schools on an irregular basis as well as assign deputies to a traffic unit, a warrant squad and a special response team.

“The way the sheriff’s department is today just screams for restructuring,” Dennie said. “It has too many positions instead of deputies working the streets.”

Knight said the low levels of violent crime are proof that the department’s current organization works. Part of that success, though, he attributes to partnerships with other agencies.

“Criminals don’t let county or municipal lines stop them, so in order to combat their activities, we can’t let jurisdictions stop us either,” Knight said.

If re-elected, Knight said he’d like to implement an explorer program for area youth to learn more about careers in law enforcement as well as a focus on combating internet crime. He plans to appoint an electronic specialist to handle sexting and other social media threats in addition to educational opportunities to emphasize the dangers of online activity.

Dennie urged consideration among those voters apprehensive about the fact he worked part-time in law enforcement instead of full time.

“My wife and I bought the first K-9 the department had had in a long time and we were so successful as a team that I was selected as the most outstanding K-9 officer in the state of North Carolina in 2001,” Dennie said. “If I was a true part-time deputy, I would not have gotten that award, but our results were outstanding and deserved recognition.”



I heard that he was having a bus load of his pitt county friends and family brought it to vote for him at the pinetops voting poll. I guess he considers this honest and fair.

Vote him out

He abuses his power. He limits pistol purchase to one if you can get one at all. He makes up his own rules with concealed permits. He is a racist. He is not at all pro active in stopping the real criminals. He goes after the easy , safe busts because those people have money. This guy is a total joke.I have personally seem him at Big Jim;s in Leggett off duty acting like a fool with his loud mouth. He needs to be gone. go away for good.


Sir, please learn to spell, please learn the English language. Please understand that we are tired of his sorry management skills. His inability to supervise and his inability to keep corruption out of his department. Quite simply, WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH. It is time for him to GO.


Please learn to spell. Please learn the English language. Please do not add a question answer when there was no question. Where were you educated, in a jungle? I have no personal issue with Sheriff other than he has no knowledge on how to run a Department, He is not a real Law Enforcement Officer. He has no Management skills, no people skills. It is simple, if he was going to do so much for Edgecombe why has he not done it in 17 years? We as citizens have had ENOUGH. Good day sir.

I can not believe the people

I can not believe the people that james knight has got fooled into thinking that he is for the citizens and the community. He is only out for himself and what he can gain from the power of being sheriff. Only shows up if the press or news cameras are there. He may be a good person but not a good sheriff.

Sheriff Race

To the good people of Edgecombe County. Lets gather together and remove this tyrant from office. He is self centered and cares only about himself. The people here needs a new SHERIFF. He cares nothing about Rocky Mount until it is election time. Once every 4 years we are all his "BUDDY" because he can not remember your name. Elect us a new sheriff PLEASE. Enough is enough.


Sad! Obviously you have a personal problem with the Sheriff. Self centered and cares about himself? Never has been. Need a Sheriff? Really! Cares nothing about Rocky Mount until election time? What a lie! Now he don't remember people names all the time just like you and I don't but maybe you can because you don't know as many folks as he does and I. You art too ignant! Enough is enough? Enough what? SMDH!

Vote him out

Good people of Edgecombe county unite and vote this horror story out of office.



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