ROBESON COUNTY, NC (WBTW) – Burnis Wilkins was sworn in as Robeson County Sheriff during a ceremony on Monday.
“I’m actually excited that we had so many people throughout Robeson County show up today,” said Wilkins.
The new sheriff already made changes to the overall look of the department with new logos on the patrol cars, and new badges for the deputies.
“I was fortunate that the County Commissioners had approved to purchase 80 new patrol cars here in Robeson County so I contacted the County Manager and the head of our county fleet and wanted to change the color of the cars,” he explained. “It all just kind of fell in place for me.”
Wilkins said the current car scheme is more than 20 years old.
“I wanted to change that look entirely with a whole new look,” said Wilkins. “That’s the reason I changed the patches on the uniform, and all the patrol cars will slowly get changed.”
Wilkins has worked in law enforcement for more than 30 years, and said he plans to tackle drugs and crime in Robeson County.
“We’re known for number one for all the wrong reasons,” he said. “And I’m going to do my part to get us out of that, but again, I’ve got to have the public’s help to do it. I can’t do it alone.”
Wilkins told News13 during an interview in June that he plans to implement several new programs including a “Kid Cadet” program, as well as a “Badges and Bibles” program.
Wilkins said thousands of dollars worth of bibles were donated by a local church specifically for his new program.
“We’re going to work hand-in-hand with teen court and the district court judges,” Wilkins said about the “Badges and Bibles” program. “And it’s really targeted toward troubled youth, but I think we’re going to expand it now because someone in the jail heard about it this week and a jailer contacted our pastor, and the person was wanting to speak with us,” he continued. “So I think we’re going to expand it beyond troubled youth.”
Wilkins stressed that change is a community effort.
“We can have all the nice cars, and the nice equipment,” he said. “Have the highly-trained staff, but without the public joining in, and helping us throughout this county, we can’t do it alone.”