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Columbus County Sheriff leaves with heavy heart

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WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) -- As one door for the Columbus County Sheriff opens, another one closes.

At the start of the new year, Chris Batten will go to work for the Department of Justice as Eastern Field representative for the North Carolina Sheriffs' Education Training and Standards.

He said he will work primarily with sheriff’s offices in eastern North Carolina and Virginia, dealing with enforcement certification.

Batten said it was emotional for he and his staff when he told them he was leaving.

"I stood there, at that door after the meeting and I don't think you could count on one had the ones that didn't come through and shed a tear,” he said. "I love what I do. I love serving the citizens. I love helping people."

Under Batten, the county built a new jail and upgraded every patrol car with computers and cameras.

"He did a lot. He started a lot of new programs here at the Sheriff's Office,” said Patrol Captain Bobby Worely.

Batten was elected sheriff in 2002. He said planned on running for re-election when his term was up, but that changed three months ago.

"This job became available in September and I talked to my wife about it. We said a few prayers and I applied for it just to see what would happen,” said Batten.

Out of 178 applicants, Batten came out on top.

Batten recommended the Democratic Party nominate Chief Deputy Major Lewis Hatcher for the job.

A position Hatcher says he is ready to take on.

"I'm familiar with how the office runs. I am familiar with everyone here. I have a good understanding how the judicial system works, so I am ready for it,” said Lewis Hatcher.

The county commissioners will approve the appointment for the next sheriff during their January 6 meeting.

Batten said he has yet to hear when his official start date is, but expects to begin work mid-January.

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Columbus "OMG" County

Where do I began?? This county doesnt need a new Sheriff, this place needs The National Guard. Too much drug abuse, un-educated citizens and NO jobs. Not to mention the confusing racism. The Native -Americans in that county are made up of 50% african -american, 25% native -american and 25% white. However most(not all)look down on African -Americans. The African-Americans in that county (most not all) will tell u they are Native American and not African-American. SMH

the only right way to handle

the only right way to handle a changing of the guards is to appoint a temporary 30 day replacement and then hold a special election

Do you have...

any idea what it would cost to hold a special election? Almost as much as the Sheriff is paid. That would be as big a waste of taxpayer dollars as City Council does here lighting Kenan fountain...for the second time.

Or they could just evacuate

Or they could just evacuate Columbus County and save everyone the trouble of watching it go down the drain.

Sad news

Sad news for whoever hires Chris. They will get a liability generator that balances itself with high insurance premiums after payouts. He cannot keep quiet and has had a documented history of telling the truth. Look at the Frink suicide where he told a fib on this Sheriffs' Association claiming it told him not to tell a neighboring facility Frink was suicidal. Look at Mrs. Marva Scott the former DSS administrator. He had to publish an apology after the County settled that costly fib. For those of you who do not know he stormed DSS claiming SBI told him a crime was going on by way of Marla destroying evidence. No court order and no evidence of any crime but he took deputies wth guns drawn and tore open doors. The County's insurance pad $200,000 for that one and is at a much higher rate today. There is more and I could go on. I will forward the rest to the agency he claims he's going to work for. Good news for Columbus though.

In case anyone in just

In case anyone in just joining the ongoing saga that is Columbus County and its law enforcement:

http://www.bluestephens.com/news/judge-wont-dismiss-frink-lawsuit

"The family of Dewayne Devon Frink filed the lawsuit in July 2005 against Columbus County Sheriff Chris Batten and Robeson County Sheriff Kenneth Sealey. The lawsuit alleges that the sheriffs and their jail staffs were negligent and caused Frink's death.

Frink, 22, hanged himself while in the Columbus County Jail in July 2003. He was being held on traffic and probation violations, according to court records.

Lawyers representing Columbus County asked that the lawsuit against their client be dismissed on the grounds of sovereign immunity - a provision that prevents governments from being sued under certain circumstances."