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Auten named chief sheriff’s deputy

Staff report
Kevin L. Auten, a deputy for more than 20 years, is the new second in command of the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff George Wilhelm has named Auten chief deputy, succeeding Steve Schenk, who retired Aug. 1.
“Kevin started working in the detention center. He’s worked in every aspect. … He was the lead drug officer for many years,” Wilhelm said Monday.
Auten was hired in 1987 by former Sheriff Robert G. “Bob” Martin.
And when Auten first went on patrol, Wilhelm was his lieutenant.
Auten, of Salisbury, has a bachelor’s degree from Catawba College in business administration. He also has advanced law-enforcement certification.
For the past year, Auten has told friends and possible supporters he plans to run for sheriff in 2010.
Sam Towne, an officer with the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, has been promoted to captain, filling the slot vacated by Auten.
Towne is also a graduate of Catawba College and joined the Sheriff’s Office in 1992.
As a lieutenant, he has been in charge of the criminal investigation division and has unofficially been the “first lieutenant.”
The promotions were announced on the Rowan County Web site.
Salary information was not immediately available. Ken Deal, Rowan’s director of administration, said the county continues to negotiate with Wilhelm on the salary increases.
Auten is on vacation this week and could not be reached for comment.
Wilhelm said he plans to make several other promotions next week.

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