LENOIR COUNTY -

Lenoir County voters will have a choice in the November race for sheriff.

Retired Chief Deputy Rickie Pearson filed to run against democratic candidate Ronnie Ingram.

According to the Lenoir County Board of Elections this year a candidates needs 1,557 votes in order to file after the general election. Pearson has collected nearly 2,000 signatures to run unaffiliated as sheriff.

Pearson started his career in law enforcement in 1975.

"I started as a deputy, moved up the line and became a detective. Ended up a lieutenant and then made captain," he explained.

After 38 years in February 2012 he decided to put down the badge and retire, but not for long.

"I've served the public for a long, long time and that's what a sheriff is, he represents the citizens of Lenoir County," Pearson.

He said if elected his first order in office would be to increase more patrol deputies on the roads.

"When I started in 1975 there were three shifts with four deputies on them and now here we are it is 2014 and there's four shifts with five deputies," Pearson explained.

In November Pearson will be joining democratic candidate Ronnie Ingram on the ballot, who beat the current Sheriff Chris Hill by about two thirds of the votes.

Ingram told NewsChannel 12 he is not worried about his new opponent and assumed eventually someone would join him in the race.

"I still feel good about it. Really, the fact that he filed doesn't affect us. We are still doing the same things," Ingram explained.

At the end of the day Pearson said he's just a good ole boy with a big loving family  who wants to lead his community.

"I know I have the skills and the knowledge over my opponent because I've been there. I've seen it and I know what it takes to be a deputy sheriff," he said.

Rickie Pearson's son is 29-year-old Detective Allen Pearson who also served for the Lenoir County Sheriff's Department. He was shot and killed in the line of duty while responding to a 911 call in April 2009    His family received the military order of the Purple Heart for their son's service.

Election day is November 8th.