Salisbury Optimist Respect For Law Breakfast held Tuesday

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - Not one, but two Cabinet Secretary's from Governor McCrory's administration were in Salisbury Tuesday morning at the Salisbury Optimist Club's annual Respect For Law breakfast.

Cultural Resources Secretary and former Salisbury Mayor Susan Kluttz spoke about her respect and admiration for law enforcement officials while serving as Mayor for seven terms.

Public Safety Secretary Frank Perry also spoke, encouraging those in the room to understand the seriousness of their responsibility to the community at large.

"You have to control crime and protect human rights, but at the same time embrace due process," Perry said.  "We cannot do what is right in the wrong way."

Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten, who was named Outstanding Patrol Deputy in 1993, was honored with the highest award presented at the breakfast.

Auten was honored with the Paul G. Wilson Award, presented by Dr. Karl Hales.

Auten's voice broke when he accepted the award, acknowledging the influence of his father Gene, who passed away in 2011.

Individual department awards were also presented and are listed here:

China Grove: Chief Eddie Kluttz

East Spencer: Sgt. Kenneth Honeycutt

Granite Quarry-Faith Police: Investigator Todd Taylor

Kannapolis: Officer Edward Ashworth

Landis: Officer Jeff Tilley

NC State Highway Patrol: Trooper Chad Walker

Rockwell: Officer Howard Dearth, Jr.

Rowan Sheriff's Office: Criminal Investigations Division

Salisbury: Lt. Brian Stallings

Spencer: 1st Sgt. M.N. Brigman

VA Medical Center: Cpl. Steven Plummer