RED SPRINGS — Ronnie Patterson, the chief of police in Red Springs, has announced that he will run next year for Robeson County sheriff.
He joins Randy Graham, a former Internal Affairs investigator with the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office, and Lumberton Councilman Burnis L. Wilkins, a former law enforcement officer and current law enforcement instructor at Robeson Community College, in the race to replace incumbent Ken Sealey.
Sealey has not officially announced he will not run for a fourth four-year term, but it is widely known his plans are to retire. He was appointed to the position in 2004, and has won election three times.
Patterson, who has more than 28 years in law enforcement, is a native of Red Springs and was a standout basketball play for Red Springs High. He has been the chief of police in Red Springs since 2010.
“I’ve done a good job at bridging the gap between community members and the police in Red Springs,” Patterson said. “I want to do the same thing for the county.”
Patterson attended Fayetteville State University. He received his basic law enforcement certification from Robeson Community College. Patterson is serving his second term on the board of directors of the North Carolina Association of Police Chiefs, where he is a regional director over Robeson, Hoke, Scotland, Cumberland, Columbus, Bladen, Sampson, Richmond and Brunswick counties. He also has served on the Robeson County Domestic Violence board, Neighborhood Watch board, and the trustee board at Full Gospel Temple.
According to Patterson, community involvement is essential to good police work,
“I want to hear the concerns of the citizens,” Patterson said. “They can be served better if their concerns are known.”
Patterson said he is running based on his record of experience and accomplishments. He said that during his time as chief in Red Springs, there has been a steady drop in crime. He credits this drop to his working closely with town residents and developing systematic methods of patrolling to curtail crime.
Patterson said he is known for his willingness to work with people and extend courtesy and respect to everyone. He also said everyone is treated the same when it comes to his enforcement of the law.
“There are many outstanding deputies, but to reduce crime we must make every employee more efficient and accountable,” he said. “Our county is the largest in the state geographically and has a limited amount of resources. To reduce crime, we must become more proactive and efficient.”
Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.