FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Listed below are some of the frequently asked questions our office receives. If you have a question not listed below, please contact us.

What is the difference between a police department and a sheriff's office?


Both a police department and a sheriff's office have the same legal authority to enforce the criminal and traffic laws. Both law enforcement agencies have the powers of arrest and the power to issue citations. Police Departments are traditionally formed to protect municipalities although some counties have formed police departments as well. Sheriffs hold constitutional offices and their offices have a few requirements that police departments do not. In North Carolina, sheriffs are mandated to serve civil processes, manage the county detention centers, and to provide court security whereas police departments are not. The Sheriff's Office is responsible for maintaining the Sex Offender Registry and is the authority that issues gun and conceal and carry permits. Also, sheriffs and deputies have jurisdiction throughout the county in which they serve. Police officers only have jurisdiction within the corporate city limits of their municipality, state agency/school, or business unless a special circumstance exists or they are within what is known as the extraterritorial jurisdiction.




Do you send patches and/or other memorabilia to collectors?


Due to security concerns we do not typically send patches or others memorabilia to collectors. If you feel a special circumstance applies you can certainly contact us and explain your needs.




Could I get the Sheriff or a deputy to come speak or give a demonstration?


Our staff is very active in the community on and off-duty. We regularly staff events such as community fairs and festivals, parades, fundraisers, and other events. We also speak on a variety of topics, teach classes, give speeches, and offer demonstrations on a regular basis. Please contact us through email or phone to discuss options. Our calendar fills up quickly, more notice the better.




What do you do to help kids in our county?


We strive to gain the respect and trust of our county's children. We speak often at youth groups and schools, teach the D.A.R.E. program, provide school resources officers in our school system, and frequently mentor youth. We have two deputies who hold offices on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina D.A.R.E. Officer's Association. We also engage with our youth through events such as Trunk of Treats, parades, dances, parties, festivals, and other community events.




If I know something someone has done that is wrong how can I report it without "getting involved"?


You may call the Sheriff's Office, email any of our staff, stop one of our deputies to chat or remain anonymous by reporting it to Crime Stoppers at (252) 758-7777, online at www.P3Tips.com, or on the P3Tips phone app.




A neighbor's dog is always barking and it is annoying.  It also disturbs my sleep.  What can be done?


Dogs can be wonderful pets but we know that they can cause heartburn for others as well. Here are some things for you to consider and some information on how we can help you. You can read over the county ordinances (local laws) and see how they apply to your specific situation. 1) Here is a link to Pitt County’s Noise Ordinance. It applies to all instances of noise pollution causing excessive annoyance. There is a clause in it that refers to animals. Consider refering to the ordinance to understand the legal requirements. PITT COUNTY NOISE ORDINANCE 2) Here is a link to the Pitt County Animal Services Ordinance. PITT COUNTY ANIMAL SERVICES ORDINANCE Typically the animal services ordinance will not handle a dog situation if it is just a situation of barking as a nuisance. Sometimes animal situations are much broader than that though. If you are having animal concerns please consider reviewing the ordinance to see if anything applies in your situation. If you need to call animal control during regular hours their number is 252-902-1725. If you need to speak with a deputy to get further guidance on the problem, have questions answered, or to file a complaint, feel free to call 252-830-4141 anytime 24/7 and we’ll be glad to take care of you.




My neighbor makes so much noise and it disturbs my sleep.  What can be done?


We get a lot of noise complaints from citizens across Pitt County. Complaints come in as a result of parties, loud music without parties, fireworks, shooting of weapons, revving of engines, working on cars, dogs barking, and many others reasons. We will gladly have a deputy speak with you to evaluate your situation and see what can be done to assist you. We will be glad to come out to the area and investigate the disturbance. Feel free to call our communications center at (252) 830-4141 24/7 to request assistance with this problem. In the meantime, here is a link to the Pitt County Noise Ordinance (local law) that guides what is and is not legal and what can be done. PITT COUNTY NOISE ORDINANCE




What should do I to do legally to protect my kids when storing my guns?


There are many requirements and it is important to understand the laws, as well as the safety and operational aspects of firearms if you are a gun owner. We cannot recommend any specific vendors but do suggest people take gun safety training and learn all they can about safe and responsible gun ownership. NC General Statute 14-269.2 "Weapons on campus or other educational property" bans bringing a weapon onto a school campus. That is any weapon, not just firearms. You can read that law in its entirety at this link NCGS 14-269.2. It is so very important that firearms in the home be secured so that children do not have access. Even children without overt "behavioral" problems get curious at times, want to play, want to show off for friends, or even get scared of bullies at school or in the community and make poor decisions that can forever negatively alter the course of everyone's lives. NC General Statute 14-315.1 "Storage of firearms to protect minors" sets out MINIMUM requirements on how weapons must be stored in order to protect minors and others from unauthorized juvenile firearm access. You can access the full law here to read the requirements. NCGS 14-315. Another important firearm safety note is to never leave a firearm stored in your vehicle. We receive reports on a regular basis of vehicles being broken into where firearms are stolen. Those firearms often end up in the hands of some very bad people. Please, do not EVER store firearms in vehicles. You or someone that you love could be harmed by your own weapon, taken because it was not properly secured. Sheriff Paula Dance works hard to protect citizen rights when it comes to the proper and timely issuance of the required handgun purchase permits and of concealed carry handgun permits. NC law requires that individuals who carry a concealed handgun at anytime when not on their own property have a duly issued concealed carry handgun permit. You can read about this law at the following link. NCGS 14-269. There are also county and municipal ordinances (locally adopted laws) in most areas that may further regulate the possession and/or use of firearms. For more information we'd recommend checking with county and city/town ordinance books for guidance. Our website's "Links" tab should offer opportunities to find those easily. You can use this link to find those. PCSO Links Page. This is not an all inclusive list and is not in any way an attempt by the Sheriff or anyone in our office to offering legal advice. For more information we'd recommend consulting an attorney with your legal questions or firearm experts for more suggestions. Stay safe Pitt County!




Sometimes I hear "Sheriff's Office".  Sometimes I hear "Sheriff's Department".  Is there a difference?  Which is right?


The correct answer is Sheriff's Office. In government, the term Office is usually used when the person holding the office is conveyed certain powers by the government and citizens, and in the case of the Sheriff in North Carolina, the Constitution. Since the Sheriff is a Constitutional Officer who is elected by the people she has an office instead of a department. For example, we have a Governor's Office, an Office of the Attorney General, Senators and State Representatives have Offices, and Sheriff's also have Offices. In all of those examples the incumbents are duly elected officials named in the Constitution of the State of North Carolina. In government the term department typically means a subordinate unit of a government body that is established to do a type of business. For example, Pitt County Government has established a Human Resources Department to handle the vital task of managing the HR needs of the county government. They have also established a Finance Department to handle all finance related matters for the county government. Government bodies usually have many different departments to handle the many aspects of government. They are staffed by appointed employees. These departments are all internal divisions within the county government to make operations more structured and efficient. Likewise, within the Sheriff's Office we have a finance unit and a human resources unit (training and standards) among others to handle those aspects within our office. We work closely with the cooresponding units of the county government to assure smooth and economical operations of which our citizens can be proud.




What laws apply to all terrain vehicles (ATVs) and do you have any tips for parents?