Moore County officially has a new Sheriff Monday morning after Sheriff Elect Ronnie Fields was sworn-in to office at the Agriculture Center in Carthage by Superior Court Judge Jim Webb.
The ceremony took place beginning at 10:00 am with the swearing in of Sheriff-Elect Fields to be the official Sheriff. To be sworn into office as the new Sheriff required administering three separate oaths.
The first oath is required by Article VI, § 7 of the North Carolina Constitution “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and maintain the Constitution and the laws of the United States, and the Constitution and laws of North Carolina not inconsistent therewith, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of my office as sheriff, so help me God.”
The second oath is required by N.C. Gen. Stat. § 11-7 and applies to every person elected or appointed to office in North Carolina “I do solemnly and sincerely swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States; that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the State of North Carolina, and to the constitutional powers and authorities which are or may be established for the government thereof; and that I will endeavor to support, maintain and defend the Constitution of said State, not inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States, to the best of my knowledge and ability; so help me God.”
The third oath is required by N.C. Gen. Stat. § 11-11 and applies to all law enforcement officers. “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will be alert and vigilant to enforce the criminal laws of this State; that I will not be influenced in any matter on account of personal bias or prejudice; that I will faithfully and impartially execute the duties of my office as a law enforcement officer according to the best of my skill, abilities, and judgment; so help me, God.”
Immediately following the swearing in of Sheriff Fields the Moore County Sheriff’s Department’s next two top officers, the Chief Deputy and the Major were individually sworn-in to their new positions by Judge Webb. Richard Maness was sworn-in as the departments Chief Deputy, with Andy Conway being sworn in as the departments Major. Both men are experienced law enforcement officers with more than 50 years of dedicated service combined between them.
After the swearing-in of the departments top three officers, the oath of office was administered by Judge Webb to the other sworn officers working at the Sheriff's Department as a group.
According to the NC Sheriff’s Association, North Carolina’s 1776 Constitution established the Office of Sheriff and it has been a constitutionally created office since that time. At its creation in 1776, the office had, and continues to have, the duties and authorities of sheriffs as they were under the common law of England.
Although the Office of Sheriff was expressly created in North Carolina’s first Constitution in 1776, no system of local government was created by the Constitution. A uniform scheme of county and township government was not created until the adoption of North Carolina’s Constitution of 1868, almost 100 years later. Therefore, the Office of Sheriff in North Carolina is almost older than county government itself.
In Moore County Sheriff Fields will have oversight of the Sheriff’s Department Administration, Dispatcher’s, the Patrol Division, the Investigations Division, the Detention Center, and Animal Control. In addition, the Sheriff’s Department provides security for the courthouse and the courtrooms.