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News Roundup

As NPR reports, a coalition of state attorneys general announced this week that they had reached a $26 billion settlement agreement with drug distributors and Johnson & Johnson for their role in the opioid epidemic.  The agreement, which still requires approval from state and local governments, would resolve various lawsuits brought against Johnson & Johnson, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson that allege that the companies turned a blind eye to orders for large quantities of opioid drugs in the interest of making money.  Keep reading for more news.

Felons in Office.  The Greensboro News & Record reports that the General Assembly appears likely to pass legislation that would prohibit a person with a felony conviction from running for the office of sheriff, regardless of whether the person had been granted an expunction.  The News & Record says that the bill is intended to prevent situations such as those where the former sheriff of Davidson County, Gerald Hege, ran again for office in 2007 and 2018 after pleading guilty to felony obstruction of justice in 2004.  The current version of the bill would grant an exception to anyone who had received an unconditional pardon.

Chase.  As WLOS reports, a person was killed and another was injured when a man fleeing a traffic stop and being chased by a Haywood County Sheriff’s deputy crossed into oncoming traffic and collided with another vehicle.  A deputy was attempting to stop Dalton Suttles for a traffic violation when Suttles refused to pull over and sped away.  The deputy chased Suttles, who eventually caused the collision.  Though the news report indicates that Suttles was being stopped for a traffic violation, it suggests that the deputy making the stop may also have been aware had Suttles had violated probation.

Animals.  WRAL reports that the Raleigh Police Department spent nearly $10,000 in its efforts to trap the venomous zebra cobra that recently was loose in a residential neighborhood after escaping from its owner.  Most of the cost was manpower devoted to tracking and catching the snake.  The story adds that local and state lawmakers are considering various pieces of legislation that could prohibit possession of certain exotic animals or venomous snakes.

Nash.  Two recent news stories feature Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone.  Late last week Stone was directly involved in busting an alleged drug deal while out in the community responding to calls for service.  Stone, who is recovering from hip surgery, told CBS 17 that he routinely responds to calls because he does not want to ask his deputies to do anything that he would be unwilling to.

This week, WRAL reported that the Nash County soon will implement a pilot program where two social workers will be stationed at the Sheriff’s Office to assist in responding to calls involving mental health concerns or addiction issues.  The program begins on August 9.

Squad Car Donation.  The Johnston County Report says that the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office recently donated a used patrol car to the Micro Police Department after Sheriff Steve Bizzell learned that Micro only had one functioning police vehicle, an aging Impala that the town’s officers shared when on duty.  At a ceremony at Micro Town Hall, county officials presented Micro with a 2019 Charger with 68k on the clock, a used lightbar, and a fresh oil change.

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