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Catawba County sheriff talks school safety, fentanyl | #hacking | #aihp

Catawba County Sheriff Don Brown listed school safety as one of his biggest concerns during a budget presentation to Catawba County commissioners Wednesday.

“That’s why my goal from day one has been a School Resource Officer in every school because I want to be able to say in my mind and publicly that we’ve done everything that we possibly can do to protect our children,” Brown said.


Catawba County Sheriff Don Brown prepares to make his budget presentation before the Catawba County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday. 

Brown’s budget request would accomplish that goal of having a resource officer in every school in the Catawba County school system by adding four new officers in elementary schools.

Other budget requests from the sheriff’s office included a $1-per-hour pay increase as an incentive for night deputies and detention officers. The budget also asks for four new deputies to improve coverage in one of the county’s patrol zones.

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County Manager Mary Furtado’s proposed budget includes funding for the four resource officers but not the four patrol deputies.

Brown also highlighted the amounts of drugs seized by deputies in the last year, including 4.3 pounds of methamphetamine, 71.7 pounds of cocaine, 13.4 pounds of marijuana and 2.8 pounds of fentanyl.

Touching on the dangers of fentanyl, Brown said: “Fentanyl is what’s killing our citizens and it doesn’t discriminate. Young, old, it doesn’t matter. It’s killing people. We’re having overdoses all the time with fentanyl and that is a battle that we’re fighting every day.”

Brown also said the sheriff’s office has seized nearly $163,500 in cash, as well as 24 firearms and a bomb.

“That bomb was, it was a drug arrest that we made and it was up at the old (AMF) bowling alley in that parking lot,” Brown said.

Brown’s presentation was part of the Wednesday’s daylong budget hearings in which county commissioners heard from representatives of county departments, education leaders and organizations funded by the county.

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on the budget on May 31 and are expected to adopt the spending plan on June 5.

Kevin Griffin is the City of Hickory reporter at the Hickory Daily Record.

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