In an excellent front-page feature in Sunday’s N&O, reporter Kristin Collins rides along with Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell, famous for his crackdowns on the county’s Latino newcomers.

He saw people dancing in the grass between two trailers, a gaggle of children playing nearby.

“All they do is work and make love, I think,” he said. “Look at all those kids right there.”

Collins does a great job of listening — to Bizzell’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and apparently sincere anxiety about people he neither knows nor understands, to a local resident’s complaint that immigrants rudely hog the aisles at Wal-Mart, and to the Latino trailer park residents who feel the ongoing persecution deepens their faith in God. She also lays out plain facts, such as the drop in crime since the supposedly lawless immigrants arrived, that show how perception and reality don’t match up.

Update 9/8: Bizzell apologized, The N&O reports today. But for Tony Asion, executive director of El Pueblo, that’s not enough.

“I don’t want his apology, I want his badge,” said Asion, who was born in Cuba. “As a 20-year veteran of the Delaware State Police force, I resent the fact that he’s even a cop.”