Lee County native set to become Moore's next sheriff

Feb. 16, 2013 @ 05:46 PM

Lee County native Neil Godfrey is set to take the helm of the Moore County Sheriff's Department after the announcement of the retirement of long-time Sheriff Lane Carter.

Godfrey was selected as the appointed sheriff by the Moore County Board of Commissioners, after a recommendation by the local Republican Party, earlier this month and the appointment is effective May 1.

"I think (Godfrey) will be a wonderful sheriff," Carter said. "He'll do a great job. He can relate to people. He's meticulous in his work and is an excellent supervisor."

Moore County Commissioner Chairman Nick Picerno said Godfrey's selection was an easy one and the transition will be a smooth one.

"Our number one priority is to keep the county safe and keep our citizens safe," Picerno said. "We want them to feel like the law enforcement is always looking after them and doing a good job. As far as keeping the crime rate low, if we have an incident, we want to make sure it is handled quickly and professional. I think that is going to continue under Neil."

Godfrey said he's had a long and positive relationship working with Carter and intended to run for the sheriff office in 2014.

"I certainly appreciate the faith and confidence that the Republican executive committee and Moore County Board of Commissioners have shown by putting me in this position," Godfrey said. "I intend to run for the elected office and hopefully the citizens will decide the job we do is what they want us to do. And that's to make Moore County a safer place for our citizens to live and prosper."

Godfrey grew up in Sanford, played football at Sanford Central High School under Paul Gay, and studied chemistry at Wake Forest before joining the State Bureau of Investigations. When Carter became sheriff in 2002, Godfrey joined the department as chief deputy.

Carter has done an excellent job during his tenure as sheriff and there will not be major changes or overhauls, Godfrey said. He will look at every department to reevaluate its goals and objectives, Godfrey said, and determine if additional resources are needed.

"I think we've been doing a good job, but we would always like to be doing more," he said. "The economy has been in bad shape so there are additional resources we will be working toward, but we have made some accomplishments in that regard."

The sheriff's office acquired a local fingerprint database, allowing the department to solve crimes in a more timely manner. Godfrey said he will continue to rely on the established positive relationship with the local residents.

"If the citizens have any concerns they can call or visit Lane or me," Godfrey said. "If there is something that needs to be addressed, we are going to make every effort to do that. To make the county a safer place to live or prosper, we have to have assistance from our citizens."

The sheriff's office also has a positive working relationship with Lee County and Sanford, Godfrey said. The departments' paths rarely overlap, he said, but they are available to support each other.

Growing up on a Sanford farm, Godfrey said he learned the importance of hard work and dedication. While playing football under Coach Paul Gay, Godfrey said he learned to stay focused on his goals — something that has stuck with him.