Incumbent Sheriff Peterkin announces reelection bid

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • Incumbent Hoke County Sheriff Dr. Hubert Peterkin announced that he will seek another four-year term in office next year in the 2022 elections.

Peterkin made a campaign announcement on Facebook to celebrate the start of his run for another term. He is currently serving the remainder of his fifth four-year term in office, with 19 years on the job since he was first elected in 2002. He has served in law enforcement for the past 34 years.

Peterkin said he wants to continue in the position because there’s work to be done. He looks forward to coming to work every day, he said.

“I always said if this job ever got to the point where all I could do is come sit down…but I can’t do that. There’s a lot of things that we can do. I’m still excited,” Peterkin said. “And to be able to make a difference, we see the difference that we’re making in this county with this administration. I’m just as excited as being sheriff as I was before. I love this county, I love the people.”

Asked about things accomplished in his current term, Peterkin said his top priority had been to improve deputy retention and increase their pay. After losing multiple deputies to higher-paying law enforcement offices, Peterkin reached out to the commissioners for support. After discussing the options, the county leaders upped deputy pay by 15 percent across the board and raised the starting salary for new deputies.

“One of the goals that we had set for this term we’re in was to increase salaries and work on the retention for the sheriff’s office. That actually was my number one goal for this term, and we accomplished it. I feel like the commissioners did an awesome job supporting that, really, really proud of them for that,” Peterkin said.

If reelected next year, the incumbent said he’d like to use his next term to focus on working with commissioners to increase the number of staff members at the sheriff’s office. The county is growing and more patrol officers are needed to help protect lives and property, the sheriff said.

“Hoke County is growing so fast. We’ve got housing developments popping up all over the place. We need people. As we move into this next term, we’ll be going to the commissioners a little bit at a time asking them for additional people. We’re assessing how many we need,” he said.

Asked about some of the biggest safety concerns for the county, both importing for sale and manufacturing of controlled substances continues to be a problem, the sheriff said.

“Some of the problems that we’re facing, drugs is always at the top of the list. We seem to be having a meth problem, cocaine problems, and heroin is popping back up,” he said.

Another top issue for Hoke County is the proliferation of electronic sweepstakes gaming parlors. During his years as sheriff, Peterkin has worked with the local District Attorney’s office to shut down the computer-based sweepstakes parlors when possible. However, state laws about the businesses have shifted back and forth due to multiple legal challenges. Sometimes the sweepstakes businesses are allowed to reopen, with the owners avoiding any penalties in court.

It’s something that is cause for concern for many citizens, and Peterkin said it’s something his office watches – and will continue to watch – very closely.

“Our investigation has intensified with that. Also with the legislators in Raleigh are in and out of court, they have a hearing in August.”

“You want the judicial system to feel confident about these cases,” he added.

Peterkin said he would like to continue making progress with the department, if he is reelected to another four-year term.

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