Cumberland County sheriff announces retirement

Sheriff Earl "Moose" Butler announces his retirement.
Sheriff Earl "Moose" Butler announces his retirement.

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Cumberland County Sheriff Earl “Moose” Butler announced his retirement Thursday.

Butler, who has been in law enforcement since 1967, was elected as Cumberland County sheriff in 1994 and will step down December 31.

“For 22 years I have had the honor and the privilege to serve as the sheriff and to lead the best Sheriff’s Office imaginable,” Butler said. “The deputies, detention officers, civilian personnel, traffic control officers, and all of the employees of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office deserve honor and praise, and I thank each of them.”

The 79-year-old Butler was re-elected as sheriff six times by Cumberland County voters.

“After more than 50 years of public service, though, a time comes when a person knows that it is, in fact, the time to depart from that service and retire, and I know that this is the time,” he said.

Butler recommended to County Commissioners that Chief Deputy Ennis Wright be named sheriff. Wright will assume the roll of sheriff January 1 until a permanent replacement is named.

Wright has served in the Cumberland County Sheriff’s office for 20 years.

Butler called Wright “a man of honesty, forthrightness, impartiality, truthfulness, and who is fully qualified to serve as sheriff.”

Butler attended University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he played football, according the Sheriff’s Office website.

Here is Sheriff Butler’s full statement:

At 5:00 PM on December 31, 2016, I will retire from service as the Sheriff of Cumberland County.

For 22 years I have had the honor and the privilege to serve as the Sheriff and to lead the best Sheriff’s Office imaginable. The deputies, detention officers, civilian personnel, traffic control officers, and all of the employees of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office deserve honor and praise, and I thank each of them.

In six general elections the people of Cumberland County have voted for me to serve as their Sheriff. Each time that I have been elected, I have also been humbled to think that the people of this great place have placed their trust in me.

Before I was first elected as Sheriff, I served the people of the State of North Carolina for nearly 30 years as a state probation and parole officer, ultimately becoming a supervisor over 9 counties. I am grateful for that as well, but Cumberland County, my home, has always been the place where I want to be, and it still is.

After more than 50 years of public service, though, a time comes when a person knows that it is, in fact, the time to depart from that service and retire, and I know that this is the time.

I leave the Sheriff’s Office with humility but also with a certain sense in pride, not that I have achieved something, but pride in and with the men and women of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office– in what they have achieved and what they will continue to achieve.

We have been, and the Sheriff’s Office will continue to be an office of the people, by the people and for the people. We have been, and we will always be, an office where anyone from any walk of life can come or call for assistance, and we will provide the help that they need. We have been, and we will continue to be an exemplary organization, recognized for achievement and professionalism, as well as personal care and compassion, integrity and honor.

Under the law applicable to Cumberland County, upon a vacancy in the Office of Sheriff, the Chief Deputy performs all the duties of the sheriff until the County Commissioners proceed to elect and appoint a person to fill my unexpired term.

We are blessed in Cumberland County to have an experienced, capable, prepared, Chief Deputy who is a man of honesty, forthrightness, impartiality, truthfulness, and who is fully qualified to serve as Sheriff. Chief Deputy Ennis Wright is a United States military veteran, who has served in the Cumberland County Sheriff’s office for 20 years, and before that he served for three years as a Spring Lake police officer. He is experienced and respected.

For these reasons, when I resign my position as the Sheriff, Chief Deputy Wright will begin to serve as Sheriff, and I have and I will continue strongly to urge the commissioners of the County of Cumberland to proceed to appoint Chief Deputy Ennis Wright to the Sheriff of Cumberland County.

I trust, and I know, that I will leave you in good hands, and I thank you — all of the people of Cumberland County — with all of my heart.”

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