Kidd takes second shot at sheriff’s seat

By Chris Berendt Staff Writer

February 21, 2014

On Friday, N.C. Highway Patrolman David Kidd announced he will again seek the top law enforcement post for Sampson County and asked those behind him four years ago for their continued support.

Minutes after filing to seek election as Sampson’s next sheriff, Kidd quoted Winston Churchill’s definition of courage and asked citizens to find theirs.

“Courage is the ability to stand up and speak; it’s also the ability to sit down and listen,” said Kidd, the second Democrat to throw his name into the sheriff’s race. “I challenge each individual in Sampson County to find their courage and stand up for what is right. Together we can make a difference in Sampson County.”

As a trooper for almost three decades, Kidd has law enforcement in his blood. And as a trooper, he has investigated many deadly collisions that have wrecked people’s lives and ended numerous young ones before they really even began. He wants to prevent those accidents from happening. While the factors in those wrecks vary, many occur because of reckless driving due to alcohol and drug use, which also is at the heart of much of the crime that takes place in today’s society.

To that end, Kidd said he still wants to see the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) and GREAT (Gang Resistance Education and Training) programs fully implemented into local schools. He said he also wants a renewed focus toward Sheriff’s Office visibility in the county.

“I want to concentrate more on break-ins, I want to work on unsolved murders in our county and I want to concentrate on protecting and serving the people of this county,” Kidd said, noting not much has changed from his feelings when he ran four years ago. “I want to see our deputies working our county, not neighboring counties. When we get a great reduction in B&Es and a significant decrease in the drugs then, yes, we can go help other people. But I would consider doing your own homework first before you go do somebody else’s.”

The Highway Patrolman noted the need for more diversity in local law enforcement, pledging to recruit more Latino deputies to bridge what he sees as a gap in investigations in a county that is increasingly Latino.

“We have an ever-changing population in Sampson County,” Kidd stated. “You need that diversity on the road so they can interact with the citizens of Sampson County. When you have that diversity out there, you gather more intelligence. More intelligence leads to more arrests.”

Originally from Fayetteville, but a resident of Sampson County for nearly his entire life, Kidd has been with the N.C. Highway Patrol since January 1986. As a child, Kidd began school in Fayetteville before coming to Sampson as a third-grader at Union Elementary School.

When his family moved a bit north, Kidd continued his schooling at Hargrove Elementary and Halls Elementary, before attending Hobbton High School, were he graduated in 1980. After high school, he went straight into state service. His time with the N.C. Highway Patrol began with assignments in Snow Hill in Greene County, Rocky Mount and Kinston before, in 1995, Kidd came back home to Sampson.

He just began his 29th year, expected to be his last with the N.C. Highway Patrol.

Kidd and his wife of 25 years, Deltra, have two children, son Tanner, 25, and daughter Jamison, 19. He is the son of Clarence Sterling and Miriam Kidd of Clinton and grandson of the late William and Lassie Tatum of Ivanhoe.

His wife and parents were there Friday, with his father seated next to him. Others at the filing included Kidd’s brother Lynn and his wife, Debbie, along with several friends.

Kidd will be facing off against fellow Democrat Freddie Butler in what is expected to be a hotly-contested May primary. Republican Sheriff Jimmy Thornton filed Thursday to seek his fourth term.

Kidd asked for his supporters’ continued trust — and their vote.

“It’s what the people of Sampson County want,” he said. “If the people of Sampson County choose someone else over me, then they have spoken. I can live with it. I want to give the people an opportunity for change. They need a choice, and that’s why I’m here — to give the people the opportunity for change and an opportunity for choice.”

In May 2010, Kidd won handily in a Democratic primary over Ray Self before being defeated by Thornton. Kidd, however, did garner more than 42 percent of the vote, roughly 5,500 votes total, that night in November 2010.

“Some people may say we failed. I thought we did excellent,” said the sheriff hopeful. “In 2010 I was a winner in my eyes. I’ve always been a ‘David versus Goliath’ kind of person and I’ve always fought the odds my whole life. I still believe in the basic goals of police work, to protect the lives and properties of the people. I’m not a politician, I’m a lawman and I’ve worked the road my whole career. Those of us who have worked the road and are out on the front line day in and day out like to consider ourselves the sheepdog.”

In this world, Kidd said, there are the wolves and the sheep. And then there is the sheepdog, the role Kidd wants to serve against the wolves of Sampson County.

“The sheepdog is out there to protect the sheep,” Kidd remarked. “The only thing I can say is, know your sheepdog. Make sure he is capable of doing the job you want him to do. I want to thank the people who supported me in 2010. I would ask for their support again in 2014.”

Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at