Precinct 2 Constable Dee Aven, the first woman to hold that position in Orange County history, will “hang up her spurs” come January but will undoubtedly not be out of law enforcement long. 

She was appointed to the office in December, 2007, to fill the seat of Parker Thompson, who died earlier that year. Former Pinehurst Mayor Jerry Hussey briefly held the slot before resigning for health reasons.

“It’s been very exciting,” she said of the past year. “It’s gone by rather quickly, and I do hope to stay in law enforcement.”

Aven wants to spend some time visiting her son Cole, 20, who was recently transferred by the Army to Louisiana’s Fort Polk. That’s a lot closer than where he was serving – Iraq.

“As constable you have to deal with more civil issues, and in may other facets of law enforcement it’s more criminal issues,” she said. “It was a learning experience.”

She’s been visiting with colleagues to let them know she’s interested in various positions, which really shouldn’t be a problem since she has a long history with the law. 

Her great-great-grandfather, J.T. Adams was a county judge some 100 years ago; and Thompson himself, the man she replaced, first encouraged her to go into law enforcement.  

Aven is a 1977 graduate of the old West Orange High School and began work as a dispatcher at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in 1978. 

She eventually became a certified peace officer. Through the years held a number of different positions, including jailer, patrol, criminal investigator, public relations, crime prevention, DARE officer and the deputy assigned to Little Cypress-Mauriceville school district.

She retired from the sheriff’s office in 2007, and was working two part-time jobs when she called Precinct 2 Commissioner Owen Burton to ask about becoming the interim constable. Burton recommended her for the job, later approved by commissioners. 

Aven told commissioners she didn’t want to run for the position in 2008, one of the criteria they were looking for in an appointee. Rob Strause will take over the Precinct 2 position in 2009, following an election year that saw only one unopposed race out of four precincts (Precinct 4’s Weldon Peveto was re-elected). 

The other constable’s offices went to Chris Humble (Precinct 1), replacing Sheriff-elect Keith Merritt; and Mark Philpott (Precinct 3), replacing the retiring John Ford.