Sergeant James Heath Hardin

Sergeant James Heath Hardin

Hope Mills Police Department, North Carolina

End of Watch Thursday, January 11, 2007

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James Heath Hardin

Sergeant Heath Hardin suffered a fatal heart attack while he and his K9 partner searched a wooded area near U.S. 301 and Tom Starling Road for a person who had fled from officers on foot.

The person and another man had stolen gas from a service station earlier in the day and fled from their vehicle after being spotted by officers.

One perpetrator was apprehended at the scene, but the other suspect was able to flee into the woods, approximately two miles from where the vehicle was stopped. Sergeant Hardin collapsed during the pursuit. The suspect was apprehended later in the afternoon. He was charged with stealing gas, driving with a revoked license, eluding arrest, and reckless driving. No charges were filed in connection with Sergeant Hardin's death.

Sergeant Hardin had served with the Hope Mills Police Department for nine years. He was survived by his wife, daughter, and son, who became a law enforcement officer.

On January 11, 2008, a bridge over a CSX rail line on the new Hope Mills Bypass was named the "Sgt. James Heath Hardin Memorial Bridge."


  • Age 35
  • Tour 9 years
  • Badge 625

Incident Details

  • Cause Heart attack

arrest attempt, foot pursuit

Most Recent Reflection

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I had the privilege of meeting your son, Deputy Mason Hardin with the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office. I am a Gang Detective with New Hanover. Your son shared his story with me not knowing we share a similar story. My mother, Lieutenant Monica Carey (Clayton Police Department), was also killed in the line of duty. She was killed by a drug dealer September 14, 2001. I was just a kid myself. I know what Mason has been through growing up without a parent. It's not an easy road. But I want you to know, Mason has turned into a fine young man and an amazing Deputy. He is so proud of you. It is an honor to work along side of your son.

Detective Justin Shingleton
New Hanover County Sheriff's Office

January 25, 2024

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