Pitt County Sheriff's Office
Pitt County Sheriff's Office

Pitt County Sheriff's Office

Pitt County Sheriff's Office

Website URL: http://www.pittcountysheriff.com

PCSO_Badge_and_Bible Introduction
What is a Sheriff? Mention the word "Sheriff" and many people's minds will fill immediately with images of shootouts and gunfights in the Wild West. Such is the power of old movies and television series, which have so magnified the role of the nineteenth-century American Sheriff that it is now virtually impossible to think of Sheriffs as existing in any other place or time. Most people would be surprised to know that the Office of Sheriff has a proud history that spans well over a thousand years, from the early Middle Ages to our own "high-tech" era.

With few exceptions, today's Sheriffs are elected officials who serve as a Chief Law-Enforcement Officer for a county. Although the duties of the Sheriff vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, the Sheriff's Office is generally active in all three branches of the criminal justice system: law enforcement, the courts, and corrections.

The importance of the modern Sheriff was stressed by President Ronald Reagan in his address to the National Sheriffs' Association on June 21, 1984. He said, "Thank you for standing up for this nation's dream of personal freedom under the rule of law. Thank you for standing against those who would transform that dream into a nightmare of wrongdoing and lawlessness. And thank you for your service to your communities, to your country, and to the cause of law and justice."

To appreciate the vital function that Sheriffs continue to serve, it is useful to become acquainted with the long and diverse history of the Sheriff's Office, and how the office has grown and changed over the past twelve centuries.

The Beginning: The Middle Ages
More than twelve hundred years ago, the country we now call England was inhabited by small groups of Anglo-Saxons who lived in rural communities called tuns. (Tun is the source of the modern English word town.) These Anglo-Saxons were often at war. Sometime before the year 700, they decided to systematize their methods of fighting by forming a system of local self-government based on groups of ten.

Each tun was divided into groups of ten families, called tithings. The elected leader of each tithing was called a tithingman.

The tithings were also arranged in tens. Each group of ten tithings (or a hundred families) elected its own chief. The Anglo-Saxon word for chief was gerefa, which later became shortened to reeve.

During the next two centuries, a number of changes occurred in this system of tithings and hundreds. A new unit of government, the shire, was formed when groups of hundreds banded together. The shire was the forerunner of the modern county. Just as each hundred was led by a reeve (chief), each shire had a reeve as well. To distinguish the leader of a shire from the leader of a mere hundred, the more powerful official became known as a shire-reeve.

The word shire-reeve eventually became the modern English word sheriff. The Sheriff -- in early England, and metaphorically, in present-day America -- is the keeper, or chief, of the county.

Under King Alfred the Great, who assumed the throne in the year 871, the Sheriff was responsible for maintaining law and order within his own county. However, it remained the duty of every citizen to assist the Sheriff in keeping the peace. If a criminal or escaped suspect was at large, it was the Sheriff's responsibility to give the alarm -- the hue and cry, as it was called. Any member of the community who heard the hue and cry was then legally responsible for helping to bring the criminal to justice. This principle of direct citizen participation survives today in the procedure known as posse commitatus.

The Office Grows
Originally, tuns had ruled themselves through the election of tithingmen and reeves. Over the years, however, government became more centralized -- concentrated in the power of a single ruler, the king. The king distributed huge tracts of land to various noblemen, who thereby became entitled to govern those tracts of land under the king's authority. Under this new arrangement, it was the noblemen who appointed Sheriffs for the counties they controlled. In those areas not consigned to noblemen, the king appointed his own Sheriffs.

jailAt the Battle of Hastings in 1066, the Saxon king Harold was defeated by the Normans -- invaders from the country we now call France. The Normans, who did not believe at all in local government, centralized their power. Rule was greatly consolidated under the king and his appointees. More than ever before, the Sheriff became an agent of the king. Among the Sheriff's new duties was that of tax collector.

Dictatorial rule by a series of powerful kings became more and more intolerable over the years. Finally, in 1215, an army of rebellious noblemen forced the despotic King John to sign the Magna Carta. This important document restored a number of rights to the noblemen and guaranteed certain basic freedoms. The text of the Magna Carta mentioned the role of the Sheriff nine times, further establishing the importance of that office.

Over the next few centuries, the Sheriff remained the leading Law Enforcement Officer of the county. To be appointed Sheriff was considered a significant honor. The honor, however, was a costly one. If the people of the county did not pay the full amount of their taxes and fines, the Sheriff was required to make up the difference out of his own pocket. Furthermore, the Sheriff was expected to serve as host for judges and other visiting dignitaries, providing them with lavish entertainment at his own expense.

For these reasons, the Office of Sheriff was not often sought after. In fact, many well-qualified men did everything they could to avoid being chosen. The law on this point was quite clear -- if a man was chosen to be Sheriff, he had to serve.

The Sheriff Crosses the Atlantic
When English settlers began to travel to the New World, the Office of Sheriff traveled with them. The first American counties were established in Virginia in 1634, and records show that one of these counties elected a Sheriff in 1651. Although this particular Sheriff was chosen by popular vote, most other colonial Sheriffs were appointed. Just as noblemen in medieval England had depended upon Sheriffs to protect their tracts of land, large American landowners appointed Sheriffs to enforce the law in the areas they controlled. Unlike their English counterparts, however, American Sheriffs were not expected to pay extraordinary expenses out of their own pockets. Some Sheriffs -- most of whom were wealthy men to begin with -- even made money from the job.

Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, American Sheriffs were assigned a broad range of responsibilities by colonial and state legislatures. Some of these responsibilities, such as law enforcement and tax collection, were carried over from the familiar role of the English Sheriff. Other responsibilities, such as overseeing jails and workhouses, were new.

Prior to the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215, the most common punishments for crimes that did not warrant the death penalty had been flogging or other sorts of physical mutilation. When confinement became favored as a more civilized way to deal with criminals, authorities in medieval England introduced the county jail. They began to experiment with other sorts of facilities as well. Among these were the workhouse, where minor offenders were assigned useful labor, and the house of correction, where people who had been unable to function in society could theoretically be taught to do so.

All three of these institutions were brought to colonial America, and the responsibility for managing them was given to the colonies' ubiquitous law enforcement officer -- the Sheriff.

As Americans began to move westward, they took with them the concept of county jails and the Office of Sheriff. The Sheriff was desperately needed to establish order in the lawless territories where power belonged to those with the fastest draw and the most accurate shot. Here it is said that Sheriffs fell into two categories, the quick and the dead. Most western Sheriffs, however, kept the peace by virtue of their authority rather than their guns. With a few exceptions, Sheriffs resorted to firepower much less often than is commonly imagined.

The Sheriff Today
PinningIn the minds of many Americans, the role of Sheriff ended with the taming of the Wild West. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. There are over three thousand counties in the United States today, and almost every one of them has a Sheriff. Some cities, such as Denver, St. Louis, Richmond and Baltimore have Sheriffs as well.

In the majority of states, the Office of Sheriff is established by the state constitution. Most of the remaining states have established the office by an act of state legislature. Alaska is the only state in which the Office of Sheriff does not exist.

There are only two states in which the sheriff is not elected by the voters. In Rhode Island, Sheriffs are appointed by the Governor; in Hawaii, Deputy Sheriffs serve in the Department of Public Safety's Sheriff's Division.

Because the Office of Sheriff exists in so many different places and under so many different conditions, there is really no such thing as a "typical" Sheriff. Some Sheriffs still have time to drop by the town coffee shop to chat with the citizens each day, while others report to an office in a skyscraper and manage a department whose budget exceeds that of many corporations. Despite their differences in style, however, most Sheriffs have certain roles and responsibilities in common.

Law Enforcement
Most Sheriffs' offices have a responsibility for law enforcement, a function that dates all the way back to the origins of the office in feudal England. Although the authority of the Sheriff varies from state to state, a Sheriff always has the power to make arrests within his or her own county. Some states extend this authority to adjacent counties or to the entire state.Patrol_car_side

Many Sheriffs' Offices also perform routine patrol functions such as traffic control, accident investigations, and transportation of prisoners. Larger departments may perform criminal investigations or engage in other specialized law enforcement activities. Some unusually large Sheriffs' offices may have an air patrol (including fixed-wing aircraft or helicopters), a mounted patrol or a marine patrol at their disposal.

Many Sheriffs enlist the aid of local neighborhoods in working to prevent crime. The National Neighborhood Watch Program, sponsored by the National Sheriffs' Association, allows citizens and law enforcement officials to cooperate in keeping communities safe.

As the Sheriff's law enforcement duties become more extensive and complex, new career opportunities for people with specialized skills are opening up in Sheriff's Offices around the country. Among the specialties now in demand are underwater diving, piloting, boating, skiing, radar technology, communications, computer technology, accounting, emergency medicine, and foreign languages (especially Spanish, French, and Vietnamese.)

Court Duties
CourthouseIn every state in which the office exists, Sheriffs are responsible for maintaining the safety and security of the court. A Sheriff or Deputy may be required to attend all court sessions; to act as bailiff; to take charge of juries whenever they are outside the courtroom; to serve court papers such as subpoenas, summonses, warrants, writs, or civil process; to extradite prisoners; to enforce money decrees (such as those relating to the garnishment or sale of property); to collect taxes; or to perform other court-related functions.

Jail Administration
Most Sheriffs' Offices maintain and operate county jails, detention centers, detoxification centers and community corrections facilities such as work-release group homes and halfway houses. Sheriffs, and the jail officers under their authority, are responsible for supervising inmates and protecting their rights. They are also responsible for providing inmates with food, clothing, exercise, recreation and medical services.

Credit for this story is given to the North Carolina Sheriff's Association

Sheriff Neil Elks
 Welcome to the Pitt County Sheriff's Office Website. It is my privilege to command  one of the finest and most well equipped law
 enforcement agencies in America, staffed by some of the most dedicated law enforcement professionals in the business of
 serving and protecting this community. I take great pride in the fact that Greenville, North Carolina is my home, and that I grew up 
 in the very same community that I have committed 30 years serving in public safety. It is my goal to make Pitt County the safest
 community possible to live, work, and raise a family. The purpose of this site is to inform you of the many different ways our dedicated
 officers are working to keep your community safe. I trust you will enjoy your visit to our web site, and I invite you to check back
                                                                                                                     Neil Elks, Sheriff


About Sheriff Elks

As a native of Pitt County, Sheriff Elks appreciates small community values and traditions.  Yet, he also realizes that today’s law enforcement requires a progressive approach using more innovation to maintain community safety.

As a third generation Law Enforcement Officer, Sheriff Elks has spent 30 years of his law enforcement career working his way through the many different aspects of the department. He began his career with the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office as a dispatcher in 1978 and successfully transitioned to patrol deputy, investigator, sergeant, lieutenant and then patrol Captain.  Under three administrations, he has continued to serve the citizens of the county he loves and is humbled by the opportunity to serve as the top judicial official.  

Since taking office on December 6, 2010, Sheriff Elks has led the department as a hands-on sheriff.  He believes that working directly in patrol not only gives him an opportunity to engage with the deputies directly, but also remain connected to the concerns of the citizens. As a working sheriff, his desire to interact with both employees and the citizens is resounded in his mission to “protect and serve”.

Sheriff Elks and his wife, Connie, have been married for over 25 years and have four children, all residing in Pitt County.  The Elks’ have two grandchildren.

 Professional Accomplishments

  • North Carolina Sheriff's Education and Training Standards Commission: Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Certificates and Advanced Service Award
  • Law Enforcement Executive Program, 1998; Sponsored by Duke University, The Institute of Government at The University of North Carolina and the Public Administration Department at North Carolina State University
  • Over 1,500 hours of training in various law enforcement topics
  • More than 150 law enforcement and related certifications
  • Crisis Negotiation Team, Captain
  • Crisis Intervention Training Member
  • Pitt County Law Enforcement Officer Association, President  2009-2010: Vice President 2008-2009; Board of Directors; and Chairman of Fundraising Committee
  • Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, Optimist Club of Greenville, 1991 and 2007
  • Certificate of Appreciation, Pitt-Greenville Chamber of Commerce, 2007

Personal Interest

  • Friend Helping Friends: Community Volunteer Group
  • St. Paul Pentecostal Holiness Church: Financial Board, 2007-Present;  Deacon 1992-2000
  • Hollywood Presbyterian Church Men’s Group
  • Greenville Morning Rotary Club





Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training is a Police-Based Pre-Booking Jail Diversion Program. The Mission is to help persons with mental illness who are in crisis get connected to the services they need and eliminate the inappropriateuse of our criminal justice system and the hospital emergency department.

This program requires ongoing communication and partnerships with the community, law enforcement agencies, mental health systems, consumers/peers, family advocates, community colleges, and the medical community. East Carolina Behavioral Health Local Management Entity utilizes local county funds and contracts with Pitt County Sheriff’s Office to provide this valuable training.

CIT programs in North Carolina are modeled after a program developed in Memphis, Tennessee in 1988. Based on January 2011 statistics, in North Carolina there are over:

222 agencies participating in CIT
3,032 Certified CIT Officers
381 telecommunicators Trained

Telecommunicators are also first responders. When an individual calls 911 during a crisis, a Telecommunicator is the first point of contact. A 2-day (16-hour) training based on the Memphis CIT Model is offered through our program. Our program has certified 49 Telecommunicators/Dispatchers

Our CIT training is open to any sworn NC Law Enforcement Officer. Registration and training is offered through the Pitt Community College BLET training program in Greenville and the College of the Albemarle Corporate and Continuing Education in Elizabeth City.

For more information contact:
Contact  Bonnie Currie, Crisis Intervention Training Coordinator - (252) 902-2723 or (252) 714-1924 -  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

  Download CIT Brochure

Venturing CrewVenturing is a youth development program of Boy Scouts of America for young men and women who are at least 14 years old (and have completed the eighth grade) through 20 years of age.

Exploring's purpose is to provide experiences that help young people mature and to prepare them to become responsible and caring adults. Explorers are ready to investigate the meaning of interdependence in their personal relationships and communities.

Exploring is based on a unique and dynamic relationship between youth and the organizations in their communities. Local community organizations initiate a specific Explorer post by matching their people and program resources to the interests of young people in the community. The result is a program of activities that helps youth pursue their special interests, grow, and develop.

The Pitt County Sheriff's Office Venturing Crew 911 was established to match young people interested in law enforcement careers with Deputies from the Sheriff's Office. The Venturing Crew is involved in many community activities, participate in a ride-a-long program with Deputies, and receive special training in law enforcement. The Venturing Crew 911 helps youth pursue their special interest in law enforcement, develop leadership skills, and become good citizens. A very large percentage of explorers determine that law enforcement is a profession worth pursuing, and go on to study criminal justice and law enforcement in college. Pitt County Sheriff's Office explorers will grow to become Police Officers, Deputy Sheriff’s, State Troopers, federal agents, Military Police, business persons, and productive members of the community.

contact  Contact: Sgt.Grasha, Advisor Venturing Crew - (252) 378-5160

Mounted PatrolWho makes up the Mounted Patrol?
The Mounted Patrol is a volunteer organization comprised of citizens throughout Pitt County.

What is their Purpose?
The purpose of the Mounted Patrol is to provide a reliable, functional, trained mounted unit to assist the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office and surrounding counties with search and rescue and to also provide security patrol during special events.

Requirements for membership
• Volunteers must be 21 years of age. • Must pass a background check conducted by the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office.
• Must supply your own horse, equipment, boarding, feed and transportation.

What required training do I receive as a Mounted Patrol Volunteer?
• Horse sensory training
• CPR & First Aid
• Map & Compass reading
• Radio Communications
• Evidence Protection
• Traffic Control
• Horse First Aid
• Participate in simulated training searches.
• Receive guest speakers
Each member is certified through the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office. Member are also encouraged to attend monthly business meeting as well as monthly training to retain their Volunteer Mounted Patrol Certification.

Do I receive any equipment to assist with the Mounted Patrol?
Riders Receive:
• A Black Equestrian Safety Helmet
• Tan Polo Style Shirt with the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office Logo Embroider on the Chest • Orange/Reflective Visibility Vest
• Saddle Bags containing personal/equine safety supplies/equipment for search and rescues.

Who funds the Volunteer Mounted Patrol?
The Pitt County Sheriff’s Office Volunteer Mounted Patrol raises money through fund raisers and receives donations and contributions from local businesses, civic organizations, and private citizens.

Who would I contact for more information on volunteering or to make a Donation to the Volunteer Mounted Patrol?

Contact   Call: John Teel - (252) 347-1086

Send Donations to:
Pitt County Sheriff’s Office
Volunteer Mounted Patrol Fund
P.O. Box 528
Greenville, NC 27835-0528


The overall mission of the Sheriff’s Chaplaincy Program is to provide a ministry of guidance and counseling to all employees of the Sheriff’s Office upon request. Guidance and counseling will be provided in matters of spiritual, personal, family, health, employment, and financial nature that affect personnel. This is a volunteer program. Specifically, these duties will include but not be limited to:

Providing pastoral care and counseling to all employees and their families and any other appropriate encounters in the performance of their official Chaplaincy duties.

Comforting and providing resource information to victims of crime, fire, medical emergencies, tragic events, and natural/manmade disasters.

Assisting the Sheriff’s Office in notifying individuals who have lost a family member in an unexpected manner.


The Volunteer ATV Search & Rescue Team purpose is to provide a reliable, functional, trained unit to assist the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office and surrounding counties with search and rescue emergencies, and to also provide security patrol during special events and natural disasters .

Who makes up the ATV Search & Rescue Team?

The ATV Search & Rescue Team is a volunteer organization comprised of citizens throughout Pitt County.

Requirements for membership

• Volunteers must be 21 years of age. • Must pass a background check conducted by the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office.

• Must supply your own ATV (4x4 preferably), and means of transporting it to search and rescue locations, trainings and special events.  Applicant should have also completed an approved ATV Rider Safety Course and provide certificate.

What required training do I receive as a ATV Search & Rescue Volunteer?

• CPR & First Aid

• Map & Compass reading

• Radio Communications

• Evidence Protection

• Traffic Control

• Participate in simulated training searches

• Overview of Pitt County Sheriff’s operations

Each member is certified through the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office. Members are encouraged to attend scheduled business meetings as well as scheduled training to retain their Volunteer  ATV Search & Rescue Certification.

Do I receive any equipment to assist with the ATV Search & Rescue Team?

Riders Receive:

• A Black DOT Safety Helmet

• Tan Polo Style Shirt with the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office ATV Search & Rescue Embroider on the Chest • Reflective Visibility Vest /Hats/Reflective Visibility Rain Gear

• First Aid & CPR Supplies and equipment

How is the Volunteer Mounted Patrol funded?

The Pitt County Sheriff’s Office Volunteer ATV Search and Rescue Team raises money through fund raisers, receives donations and contributions from local businesses, civic organizations, and private citizens.

Who would I contact for more information on volunteering or to make a donation to the Volunteer  ATV Search and Rescue Team ?

Call: Mark Windham at: 252-531-4734

Send Donations to:

Pitt County Sheriff’s Office
ATV Search & Rescue Team
P.O. Box 528
Greenville, NC 27835-0528



The Sheriff’s Office in each county of North Carolina is tasked by General Statue to register sexual offenders residing in their county.

When a Sex Offender is released from prison our Office is sent a message from both the Department of Correction and Probation and Parole. The Registered Sex Offender must register in person with our Office within THREE BUSINESS DAYS of his/her release date. Out of State offenders must register in person within 10 days.

If a Registered Sex Offender moves or changes addresses, they must notify our Office in person within THREE BUSINESS DAYS. Failure to do so will result in a felony warrant for arrest.

Twice a year, Registered Sex Offenders are sent a letter through Certified Mail to advise them they must re-register. The Offender is required to come in within three business days, have their picture re-taken and confirm their address.

If an Offender has been convicted of more than one sex offense since 1996, they are consider Recidivist (repeat offender) and must re-register and confirm their address in person every 90 days. Failure to do so will result in a felony warrant for arrest.

Sex Offender information is available to the public in a catalog/notebook form in our Office and also online. Check for Registered Sex Offenders



Pitt County Sheriff Office Press Release





For Immediate Release:
January 21, 2011

Two Arrest Made In Christmas Day Fire

Travis Matthew Matia, DOB 08/11/1989, of Grifton, and Harvey Elvis Tripp, Jr., DOB 05/17/1989, of Farmville were both arrested and charged today on multiple charges in the case of the 12/25/2010 fire at 6355 US13, Farmville.

On Christmas Day, the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office responded to a suspicious fire at the Farmville property. Property owner, Michael Morris of Atlantic Beach, said that the house was unoccupied and was being used as a storage building. Morris reported that many items were missing.

On January 21, due to the thorough efforts of the investigators, some of the stolen items were recovered, and Matia and Tripp were charged with the following:

· Conspiracy to Break and Enter with Intent to Commit Felony Larceny
· Conspiracy to Commit Felony Larceny
· Felony Conspiracy
· Second Degree Arson
· Felony Breaking and Entering
· Larceny after Breaking and Entering

Both were transported to the Pitt County Detention Center where each received a $100,000.00 secured bond.

For more Information, contact:
Christy Wallace
Public Information Director

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