LOUISBURG, N.C. -- The man once responsible for upholding the law in Franklin County will now serve time behind bars.
Former Sheriff Pat Green pleaded guilty to embezzling over $221,000 in public funds between November 2007 and January 2011.
"In my opinion betraying the public's trust is the worst crime that you can do," Green said, addressing the courtroom.
As part of a plea deal, Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens handed down a sentence of at least three years behind bars.
"The office of high sheriff of any county is not a job, it is a responsibility,” said Stephens to Green during court. "You failed miserably at that responsibility."
Stephens said he believes the actions of the former sheriff have created a sense of mistrust in the community that will extend far beyond Green's time in jail.
"There's no wonder that the average person is so cynical of government, because on days like today they have every right to be," said Stephens.
Green repaid about $221,000 to the county's school system and finance department. Still some community members feel he should face a stiffer punishment.
"I'd like to know if he's going to be held to the same standards that he caused other people, other young males, to be put behind bars for so many years," said former Franklin County resident Christine Williams.
Green said he plans to spend his time behind bars trying to become a better man.
This case was investigated by agents with the State Bureau of Investigation. Attorney General Roy Cooper said elected leaders and law enforcement officials are responsible for upholding their oaths of office.