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Sheriff-elect introduces top deputy
Mark Crowe and David Ellis
Sheriff-elect Mark Crowe, left, with soon-to- be Chief Deputy David Ellis. Photo by Jeff Whitten.

Bryan County Sheriff-elect Mark Crowe has named longtime lawman David Ellis as the department’s chief deputy.

Ellis, who works as a patrol deputy for Bryan County Sheriff’s Office, will assume his new position Jan. 1.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to serve under Mark and look forward to getting to work,” said Ellis, who has a hefty resume in local law enforcement dating back to 1990.

Crowe, who takes office in January, said Ellis is “one of the most kind and honest people I know in our department, and that’s the kind of person I want to help me lead it in the direction I’m ready for it to go in.”

An Army veteran who deployed to Desert Storm, Ellis was born and raised in Statesville, N.C., and got interested in law enforcement in 1972 when he was 13 and in the Explorer’s program during a ride along with a local police officer, he said.

That led to stints as a dispatcher until Ellis joined the Army at 19 after being turned down for a job as a police officer because he was too young. Ellis was sent to Fort Stewart, where he served from until his honorable discharge in 1983.

Ellis, who after getting out of the Army joined the Army National Guard, became a dispatcher with BCSO, and in 1989 got into the police academy at Armstrong State.

He said he accepted a job as a police officer in July 1990 with the Pembroke Police Department, but that same year his guard unit was activated and he was deployed as part of both Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Ellis went back to PPD afterward, and rose through the ranks to become a lieutenant and patrol supervisor, while also becoming certified in a number of areas, from handling drug dogs to investigations and running radar or testing suspected drunk drivers on what police call the Intoxilyzer.

In 2010, he was hired by Sheriff Clyde Smith to be a bomb dog handler, Ellis said, then became BCSO’s chief investigator.

Ellis has worked as a patrol supervisor, school resource officer, and has been trained in everything from everything from hostage negotiation to tracking Alzheimer patients and investigating crimes against children, according to his resume.

In that regard, Ellis said he sees being chief deputy as the culmination of a career that has been spent dedicated to law enforcement, and had good words to say about Smith and his soon-to-be boss, Crowe.

“First and foremost, I want to thank God for leading me down this path in my life,” Ellis said. “Secondly, I want to thank Mark Crowe for placing his trust in my character and for giving me this opportunity to serve as his chief deputy. I have known Mark for 30 years and I can speak, without reservation, than he is an honorable, God fearing man who is stands committed to serving the citizens of Bryan County to the utmost and best of his ability.”

Ellis also said he’ll have an open door policy for the public.

“I look forward to serving the citizens of Bryan County,” he said.

While many departments have chief deputies, BCSO has not had in recent memory under Smith, who is routinely described as “old school” by many. But Crowe said it’s important to have someone in charge of administration in a department with more than 30 sworn officers as well as jailers, food service workers, dispatchers and nurses.

In many departments the chief deputy in essence serves as the administrative officer and handles management of the law enforcement side of a sheriff’s office.

That’s much like a county administrator, city manager or school superintendent takes care of running local governments or school systems while elected officials set policy and deal with constituents and inter government.

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