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WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) — There’s a new sheriff in town in Columbus County.

Community members and law enforcement packed the Columbus County Courthouse this morning as Lewis Hatcher, the county’s first black sheriff, was sworn in.

Hatcher replaces Chris Batten, who stepped down to take a new job.

Hatcher, who was the county’s chief deputy, says he never expected this position, but is honored to accept it.

“It’s my job to preserve peace, see that all the citizens of this county and their property are protected, and that’s what I’m dedicated to do,” Sheriff Hatcher said.

Hatcher picks up where Batten left off after he served as sheriff for more than 11 years.

Hatcher says he will be on the ballot to run for sheriff later this year when his appointed term is up.

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