NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) It’s been one year since Chip Hughes took office as Craven County sheriff.

“Everyday I wake up and I get to come to a job that I love so it is not work and I think that’s why this year has really flown by,” he says.

In the last year, Sheriff Hughes has focused his attention on a variety of issues that include school safety, the opioid epidemic, animal abuse and more.

It also wasn’t an easy start, being a part of an effort that brought Casey Hathaway, a missing three-year-old child home safely. 

Sheriff Hughes has put a large focus on diminishing the flow of illegal drugs into the county with a K-9 program which he anticipates to grow. 

“Our K-9 unit are removing dangerous drugs off the streets before they get in the hands of our young people and take their lives…I’m pleased to say that the county commissioners are on board, the county manager they’re supporting us in this endeavor,” Sheriff Hughes says.

New equipment and programs like animal protective services are keeping the sheriff’s office busy. 

School safety is another area that Sheriff Hughes feels strongly about and moving forward he wants to implement more school resource officers. 

He says, “we do need more SRO’s this is where society has brought us so it’s imperative we have SRO’s and deputies and officers in all of our schools now, it’s where we are.”

Captain Tony Cummings shares what it’s like to work alongside Sheriff Hughes. 

“We’re lucky to be working for a sheriff like Chip Hughes, his commitment, his attention to detail, he requires us to follow up immediately on issues that we’re faced with, I feel good about the next year,” says Captain Cummings.

Sheriff Hughes also says there’s not been a growth in patrol deputies in years, he’s now looking to increase personnel in order to properly manage the number of cases in the Craven County area.