02/14/14 — Pierce takes sheriff's oath

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Pierce takes sheriff's oath

By John Joyce
Published in News on February 14, 2014 1:46 PM

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Larry Pierce, right, the newly sworn in sheriff of Wayne County, hands the firearm carried by the late Carey Winders to Winders' widow, Teresa, as Superior Court Judge Arnold Jones looks on. Pierce took the oath of office during a ceremony in Courtroom No. 1 this morning.

Larry Pierce was sworn in as the new sheriff of Wayne County before a gathering of more than 300 people in the main courtroom at the Wayne County Courthouse this morning.

With his right hand raised and his left hand on the Bible, Pierce took the oath of office as administered by Superior Court Judge Arnold Jones, with wife, Rita, by his side.

At the start of the ceremony, Jones said it would touch more emotions than most such ceremonies he has presided over.

It was a promise made good. After being sworn in, Pierce took a moment to honor his predecessor, the late Sheriff Carey A. Winders.

"Three weeks ago we lost a friend," Pierce said.

He said it was an honor to be sworn in to the office vacated so suddenly by Winders. Then, he and Winders' widow, Teresa, engaged in a ceremonious exchange.

Mrs. Winders presented Pierce with the badge of the Sheriff of Wayne County, wished him success and told him to keep progress moving forward.

The two shook hands and then hugged.

In return, Pierce presented Mrs. Winders with her husband's sidearm, its job now finished.

"The one he used to protect Wayne County," Pierce said as he handed her the box containing the retired weapon.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, a receiving line formed that snaked around the entire length of Courtroom No 1, the Courthouse's largest and most ornate chamber.

The Pierce and Winders families received congratulations and condolences from elected officials, lawmen and women, and old friends.

Pierce, for the first time as fully sworn Sheriff of Wayne County, said it is a privilege to occupy the office.

"We are proud and very humbled to be serving the people of Wayne County," he said, referring to himself and his family.