A retired state trooper filed Wednesday to run for Randolph County sheriff.
Ira Bolick, a Democrat, said in a two-page statement that residents encouraged him to run because they believe the Sheriff's Department does not provide ``equal access and protection' to everyone. He charged that during criminal investigations the department discriminates against people based on their ``social / economic' status.``In the eyes of the law, all people are entitled to equal treatment and protection, and 'selective enforcement' should not be practiced by the department or tolerated by Randolph County citizens,' said Bolick, a former chief investigator of the Investigations Division for the N.C. Department of Insurance.
Bolick declined to cite examples when reached Wednesday, saying only that ``longtime residents will be familiar with what I'm talking about.'
Bolick's allegations represent the first political salvo fired in the Nov. 6 election and have created battle lines between the two candidates.
Sheriff Litchard Hurley, a Republican who filed for election earlier this month, staunchly defended his department's reputation. Hurley said the department responds impartially to all calls, and he questioned the origin of Bolick's charges.
``We have a responsibility to every citizen of Randolph County. Any time there is a complaint it is checked out to the fullest, no matter what area of the county it comes from,' Hurley said.
Bolick also criticized the department's investigation process. he said several larceny victims have indicated that county law enforcement authorities write a report, take inventory of the stolen property and advise the victims to ``call the department if they heard anything.'
Bolick said residents have told him they are concerned about increased incidents of breaking and entering and theft.
Hurley said break-ins have fallen from 723 to 714 cases between 1988 and 1989. Larcenies also have decreased from 621 to 619 from 1988 to 1989, he said.