by Stephanie Owens
Paula Dance was born and raised in Martin County, NC. She grew up with wonderful, loving parents and siblings. She is the proud mother three wonderful kids and two grandchildren whom she adores.
Sheriff Dance began her career in law enforcement more than 28 years ago with little more than a dream of protecting and serving the community. She was born to a loving family and her parents always instilled in her and her siblings the values that have served as the guideposts throughout her life; hard work, integrity and treating all people with respect. She began her law enforcement career in 1990 as a young woman with high hopes and dreams.
Law Enforcement Experience
Sheriff Dance served about 4 years with the Martin County Sheriff’s Office and in 1994 she transitioned her career to Pitt County and began working with the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office. After serving as a patrol deputy for four years, she was promoted to Sgt. of the Domestic Violence Unit. Shortly thereafter, she was promoted to the Investigations Unit as a Major Crimes Investigator. She was further promoted in 2010 to Lt. of Investigations and was subsequently promoted to Captain in 2011. Her last promotion was to the rank of Major in 2013 making her the third in command with the Sheriff’s Office. Consequently this promotion would prove historical, solidifying a special place in history as she became the first African-American female to EVER hold the rank of Major in Pitt County. Under her command she played an intricate role in ensuring our Office continues to advance and thrive. There is no doubt that Sheriff Dance is responsible for the enduring legacy of the Sheriff’s Office and its commitment to be an exemplary agency, one that is recognized for its achievements and leadership from all over the Country.
Running for Sheriff
Sheriff Dance has always stressed the importance of treating all members of our community with respect, being transparent with and accountable to the community and creating an environment that recognizes and rewards character, competence and compassion. One of her greatest passions has always been the pursuit of true justice for children, adults and families, and to strengthen the relationships between law enforcement and our community and to providing a peaceful, complete, inclusive and safe community. Serving others has always been the foundation of her core values and it’s because of these values and her desire to make a difference that in 2018 she made the decision to run for the Office of the Sheriff of Pitt County. Indeed she ran a very long, demanding, sometimes stressful campaign but she never wavered in her commitment and dedication to the citizens of Pitt County. She worked selflessly to run a campaign based on the needs of the citizens of Pitt County, focusing on integrity, community and commitment. She ran her campaign with passion, dedication, dignity, and faith.
On the evening of Tuesday, November 6th, 2018, the citizens of our community voted and Paula Dance claimed victory as the next Sheriff of Pitt County. Once again she made history becoming the first African-American Sheriff in Pitt County, the first African-American female Sheriff in North Carolina, and one of only 5 African – American women to ever serve as Sheriff in the Nation. On December 3rd, 2018 she took the oath of office and was officially sworn into office as the Sheriff of Pitt County.
Her dedication and passion for all is as strong as ever as she remains steadfast in her mission to protect and serve the amazing community in which we live.