DOBSON — Surry County Sheriff Graham Atkinson will soon end his service as sheriff, according to a text from the sheriff Monday afternoon.
Via a text message, Atkinson confirmed he will be leaving office, noting he is referring to the move as a “retirement” rather than a “resignation.”
Atkinson also confirmed he has found a new job, though the sheriff could not expound upon his next stop in his career at the time.
Atkinson has served as the county’s sheriff since being elected to the post in 2006. He beat Republican Steve Hiatt by a margin of 54 percent to 46 percent.
In 2010, a year in which Republicans swept most races, Atkinson, a Democrat, defeated Republican challenger Dan Kiger by more than 3,000 votes. In 2014, Atkinson defeated his Republican challenger, Ervin Odum, by a margin of more than 70 percent to 30 percent.
Atkinson also serves as the president of the N.C. Sheriff’s Association.
Prior to taking on the top job at the Surry County Sheriff’s Office, Atkinson had worked as a deputy and in supervisory roles for the office since being hired by Sheriff Bill Hall on his 21st birthday in 1985.
Atkinson is also known for his “Give a Kid a Christmas” program, in which law enforcement officials take children Christmas shopping. The sheriff started the program 27 years ago while serving as a deputy with the department.
Attempts to reach members of the Surry County Board of Commissioners for comment were not immediately available.
We will have more details on Atkinson’s retirement, filling his seat, and what his plans are after stepping down soon. Check back at mtairynews.com