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Three months before the 2018 candidate filing period opens, Wilson County Sheriff Calvin Woodard has two presumptive primary challengers.
Chris Boykin and Dinise Williams, both former Wilson County deputies, intend to run against Woodard in the Democratic primary.
Woodard has been sheriff since Dec. 6, 2010. He plans to announce his intention to seek a third term on Nov. 29, according to Wanda Samuel, sheriff’s office chief of staff.
‘ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT’
Boykin served as a Wilson County sheriff’s deputy for 23 years and has never run for public office.
“I have always been a public servant-minded person,” Boykin said. “I got my start in the volunteer fire department in my late teens.”
Boykin, who lives near Sims, also worked for the Johnston County sheriff until his retirement two years ago. He currently works for Parker’s Barbecue, handling the restaurant’s catering service.
“I feel that my 28 years in law enforcement qualifies me to be able to run,” Boykin said. “I am just not 100 percent satisfied with the direction the office has taken lately, and I feel I am the person who can make it better. I am not going to get negative in this campaign, but I do see room for improvement in the office.”
Boykin said he wants to enhance the school resource officer program.
“I was the liaison both here in Wilson County and in Johnston County with the Juvenile Crime Prevention Councils,” Boykin said. “I think we’ve just got to spend more time in school just as much as we can get out of our budget to do that.”
Boykin said he wants to bring in more technology to the office.
“Technology has become just as much if not a greater part of the uniform as the handcuffs or the handgun,” he said.
Boykin said he wants to work with animal advocates to bring about their vision of an animal shelter that can work hand-in-hand with rescue groups.
“I want to be more accessible and accountable to the citizens of Wilson County,” Boykin said. “I intend to enhance the level of trust between law enforcement, the sheriff’s office and the community.”
Boykin served as chairman of the Wilson County Democratic Party for nearly eight years.
‘A NEW DIRECTION’
Dinise Williams, of Elm City, has 26 years of law enforcement experience between the Wilson Police Department, Wilson County Sheriff’s Office and as a probation and parole officer for the N.C. Department of Public Safety. She currently provides screening and assessment for Coastal Horizons, a treatment assessment service center.
“I have always had a goal from early on to be in law enforcement and at some point to be a leader. Now is the time to step up and fulfill those goals that I want to fulfill,” Williams said. “Working for the sheriff’s department and after leaving, I noticed that there were some changes that needed to be made and needed to be worked on.”
Williams’ first goal is having better communication within the sheriff’s office and with other agencies.
“There are many things that I need to accomplish, but I cannot do it alone,” Williams said. “I need the county as well as the employees, the deputies and surrounding agencies to work together so that we can accomplish and make the county a better county and a better place to work.”
“I will seek to promote integrity, accountability and rule of law in Wilson County,” Williams said. “I will encourage myself and my staff to reach out, respect and serve each Wilson County resident in equal measure.”
“The working environment in the sheriff’s department needs much improvement,” Williams said. “I am speaking of deputies being hired and leaving and going to other agencies to work. I think it’s a higher turnover rate at the sheriff’s department. That’s something that will come out later.”
Williams said she wasn’t disgruntled when she left the office, where she spent two years working for Woodard.
“I left under the point that I could not work under his administration,” Williams said.
Williams said she did “work up the ranks” in the office and served as an investigator.
“I have worked with different agencies as well as working with different agencies outside of the county working narcotics, juvenile investigator as well as coordinator for the sex offender registry and also on domestic violence,” Williams said.
“The bottom line of my pursuit of the sheriff of Wilson County is to create a new direction for the citizens of Wilson County for the county,” Williams said. “I just request to get support from the county to make Wilson County safe and let’s clean up the drug problems that we have. Let’s work together. Working the county alone cannot be done in any county.”
Both Williams and Boykin said they want to work vigorously on the opioid epidemic and both want to work with the neighboring Nashville Police Department on its progressive approach to the problem.
Boykin is a native of Wilson County and graduated from Hunt High School. Boykin also received an associate degree in criminal justice from Wilson Community College and has his advanced law enforcement training certificate from the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Education and Training Standards Commission.
Williams is a native of Wilson County and graduated from Fike High School. She has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Shaw University in Raleigh and said she is currently working on a master’s degree in education at Strayer University.
Both candidates have launched campaign websites and Facebook pages.
Boykin’s are www.chrisboykinforsheriff.com and www.facebook.com/ChrisBoykinforSheriff/.
Williams’ are www.dinise4sheriff.com and www.facebook.com/Dinise4Sheriff/.
Candidate filing for the sheriff’s race opens Feb. 12 and continues through Feb. 28.