People are always looking for ways to make a positive impact. They want to see the work they do make a difference in people’s lives. For East Carolina alumnus Asa Buck III ’98, he makes his impact by serving as sheriff of Carteret County.
As sheriff, Buck is responsible for overseeing all of the operations of the Sheriff’s Office and all the personnel working with him. He leads 82 full-time employees, with 52 of them being law enforcement officers and the other 30 being civilian employees.
“I believe the education I received at ECU has helped me in many ways,” said Buck. “I enjoyed my classes, the process of learning, and many of my professors made lasting impressions. The culmination of my education (at ECU) and my interactions with people make me who I am today.”
After graduating ECU with a bachelor of science in criminal justice, Buck slowly worked his way up the offices of Carteret County. He started as a bailiff in 1998 and by 2006 had risen all the way to deputy sheriff. It was around that time he started to think about a possible future as Sheriff of Carteret County.
“I learned the various aspects of the Sheriff’s Office (as deputy sheriff) and once I decided I wanted to run for Sheriff, I worked hard to accomplish that goal,” said Buck. “I campaigned for 18 months in my off duty time and conducted a door-to-door campaign, visiting over 5,000 homes and meeting the citizens. My hard work payed off and I was elected Sheriff in 2006. I’ve been re-elected twice since then.”
Despite his successful career as sheriff, Buck didn’t see himself being a sheriff while at ECU. But he knew that a career in criminal justice was in his future.
“I knew from the start I wanted a career in the criminal justice field,” said Buck. “While I was at ECU I never had any idea that one day I would be the Sheriff of my county. It would be years later that I would begin to consider running for sheriff.”
Since becoming sheriff, a big issue that Buck has tried to tackle is the abuse of prescription and over-the-counter drugs. He created two programs, “Pills Can Kill” and Operation “Who’s Next?” in an effort to stop the crime and death that go along with it. His “Pills Can Kill” program has collected an outstanding 1.2 million dosage units since its creation in 2008.
Buck also served as the president of the NC Sheriffs’ Association in 2014-2015. Buck was recently appointed by a North Carolina Supreme Court judge to serve on the NC Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice, a newly created group of leaders in law enforcement and the public and private sectors, to evaluate the court system and make recommendations for improvements.
Despite the 17 years since his graduation, Buck still holds Pirate Nation close to his heart. He left a piece of advice that reflects the type of attitude that has made him so successful.
“Find your passion and do what you can to make a difference. Go Pirates.”
By Michael Avila