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Dedication service for Bladen County Law Enforcement and Detention Center

By Erin Smith

The bright morning sun made for a celebratory mood on Friday morning as members of the community, elected officials, members of law enforcement and the fire service all gathered in front of the new Bladen County Law Enforcement and Detention Center located on Smith Circle in Elizabethtown. The gathering marked the Open House and dedication of the Fallen Officers’ Memorial. Those wishing to do so, could take a tour of the new facility.

Bladen County Sheriff Jim McVicker noted the new facility will replace the previous jail which was constructed in 1965 and the former sheriff’s office facility which was constructed in 1947.

“It is times like this why I am so honored to be elected as your Sheriff,” said Sheriff McVicker of the dedication.

He recognized all of the elected local and state officials and visiting law enforcement officers and their staff.

“These people right here are very important to what is happening here and I appreciate their support,” said Sheriff McVicker.

Sheriff McVicker recognized the families of Dwayne Hester, Jamie Collins, Brian Joe Ramey, James Bell, and Roy Fores. Their names appear on the Fallen Officers’ Memorial.

Sheriff McVicker also presented dedication Bibles. Sheriff McVicker related a story regarding the dedication Bibles that were presented to each Bladen County Commissioner past and present and others who helped to make the new jail possible.

He related that he was giving an interview to a media outlet in his office when Ben Brisson, who is a foreman with Bordeaux Construction, noticed a Bible laying on his desk. “He told me, ‘You have something I want and I have got to have one,’” said Sheriff McVicker.

He said he contacted Pastor Warren Hill to let him know what was taking place and Galeed Church in Bladenboro presented the Bibles to the Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff McVicker in turn presented the Bibles to all County Commissioners, Bladen County Manager Greg Martin, Ben Brisson and others who were instrumental in the jail project.

Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Douglas Sasser also spoke. “If each of you had to go out today, around this county, and randomly ask everyone you could find what they believe are the most important priorities for their county tax dollars and how they should be spent, I doubt many, if any would include paying to build a new jail facility on that list. The typical response you get from most people if you ask them about jail funding would be something to the effect that criminals already have it too easy and that the last thing we need to do is spend more money on a jail to house them,” said Sasser.

He added that we, the people, tend to forget that someone who is incarcerated is someone’s son or daughter, perhaps the father or mother of other members of our society.

Judge Sasser added that spending money on  a jail is not much of a priority for most citizens but it something that must be done. He added it took some nudging from him, but the Commissioners began to address the jail issue and Judge Sasser thanked them for their work in bringing the new Law Enforcement and Detention Center into reality.

Sheriff McVicker also recognized his staff and deputies for their hard work and dedication and also recognized members of Mosley Architects and Bordeaux Construction.

Robert Hester called the ceremony to order and the Paul R. Brown Leadership Academy posted the colors.

Bladen County Commissioner Chairman Charles Ray Peterson thanked everyone for coming to the event and thanked those who made the construction and financing of the new jail possible.

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