WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) — Chris Newkirk has been promoted as the permanent Beaufort County Emergency Services director after almost one year of leading the apartment on an interim basis.

His first day in his new role was May 1, according to information released by Beaufort County Public Information Officer Brandon Tester. Newkirk had the role of interim Emergency Services Director since June 2022.

Carnie Hedgepeth (Beaufort County Emergency Services photo)

Newkirk took over for a retired Carnie Hedgepeth who served in the role since 2017. Hedgepeth retired after suffering injuries from a motorcycle crash last year, which led to a long period of recovery in the hospital and physical therapy after he was released from the hospital.

As the director, Newkirk will oversee the county’s Animal Control, Emergency Management, Emergency Medical Services and Fire Marshal divisions. He joined the Beaufort County Emergency Services in July 2017 where he served as a Management Director. He also worked with Greenville Fire/Rescue for approximately 15 years.

“Chris has done an outstanding job in leading the department over the past year. His passion, dedication and commitment to excellence show every day and are why he is the right person to keep the department moving forward,” said County Manager Brian Alligood.

Newkirk holds an associate degree in Emergency Medical Sciences from Lenoir Community College.