Rep. John Bell awarded public safety award
By Steve Herring
For the second consecutive year, Rep. John Bell of Goldsboro has been recognized with a Defender of Public Safety Award.
The award, presented by the N.C. Sheriff's Association, recognizes recipients for work in the legislature to protect public safety in the state.
"Rep. Bell took a leadership role in advancing the legislative priorities of the N.C. Sheriff's Association which represents all 100 sheriffs in the state," said Sheriff Carson H. Smith Jr., association president. "As a result, our sheriffs are better prepared to protect the lives, liberties and property of N.C. citizens."
Bell was cited for dedicating time and effort during the session advocating for law enforcement issues important to the association which impact the office of sheriff, local communities and the state.
"I support our law enforcement," Bell said. "I support our sheriff's departments, and the great thing for me is that I represent four counties, and I have good working relationships with all of the sheriffs with all four of the counties.
"Outside of our area, we just have a lot of good sheriffs in eastern North Carolina, and it makes it very easy to work with them."
Bell's district includes Wayne County and Sheriff Larry Pierce, Craven County and Sheriff Jerry Monette, Greene County and Sheriff Lemmie Smith and Lenoir County and Sheriff Ronnie Ingram.
"I appreciate the award and the recognition, but the thing is it just comes from a great working relationship with our sheriff's departments," Bell said. "The sheriffs, I fully support what they do. I try to make sure that if legislation pops up that affects our sheriffs, not just in the east but all of the 100 counties, that we are attentive and listen."
Pierce does a great job with that, as do the other sheriffs, Bell said.
Bell said he always has a great conversation with Pierce when legislation pops up related to the sheriff's office to find out the pros and cons, what is going to work and what isn't.
"I appreciate it (award), but I am just blessed that I have sheriffs I can work with," Bell said.
Pierce said that, as sheriff, he is very appreciative of local representatives and senators and what they do.
Pierce said he was especially appreciative of what Bell has done to receive the award.
"He has done a lot for our sheriff's association and for law enforcement agencies in the bills that he has introduced and supported," Pierce said. "We are thankful for what he has done and for what he has given to us."
There have been so many bills it would be difficult to cite just one, Pierce said.