The following are answers to rrspin.com questions for the Halifax County sheriff’s race:
Graduated from Roanoke Rapids High School, Wilson Technical Community College
Roanoke Rapids Police Department, 1996 – 2003; Halifax County Sheriff’s Office 2003 – present.
NC Sheriff’s Association member; Former FBI Task Force agent; Former Federal Organized Criminal Drug Enforcement Task Force agent; Optimist Club Officer of the Year; Resolution of Commendation for Life Saving Award; Advanced Law Enforcement Certified
Married to my wife Renee for 22 years. We have two children, Carrie, 20 and Caleb, 15. Roanoke Rapids Youth Baseball Association Board Member, Roanoke Rapids Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee member, Victory Baptist Church member, Ducks Unlimited member, National Wild Turkey Federation member, Big Rack Hunting Club member, Pecan Grove Hunting Club member
Retired Sheriff Jeff Frazier, Sheriff Wes Tripp, Halifax County Commissioner Chairman Vernon Bryant, Pastor Gerry Smith, Educator Andre Stewart, Commissioner Patrick Qualls, Commissioner Linda Brewer, Clerk of Court Becky Spragins, Roanoke Rapids City Councilman Wayne Smith, Roanoke Rapids City Councilman Rex Stainback, Retired Chief Deputy Bruce Temple, and many other Halifax County Residents.
Why are seeking this office and what makes you qualified to hold it if elected?
I would like to see this office continue to progress in the right direction.
I am the only candidate that has worked continuously for the past 26 plus years in all areas of law enforcement.
I have the experience to lead the men and women of this agency as I have the past seven years as the chief deputy.
I have worked as a uniform deputy, detective, narcotics agent, narcotics supervisor, patrol lieutenant, detective lieutenant, captain, major and chief deputy, the position I currently hold.
I am the only candidate to hold these positions with this extensive experience which is essential in leading a well-trained group of young men and women.
It is my belief that in order to lead a department of 100 employees, you must be familiar with the department, criminal law, civil law, jail rules and regulations and have experience in leading criminal investigative cases.
I am the only candidate that has developed a close working relationship with the county management team, the county government team, and of course the wonderful staff here at the office.
Since 2016, I have helped manage a $10 million budget and I have received many compliments on saving and stretching your tax dollars.
Do you identify as a conservative, liberal, or moderate?
I am more of a conservative to moderate thinking person.
What is your first priority if elected to office?
The first priority is to increase the patrol coverage to ensure safer homes and communities.
Law enforcement throughout America is one of the fastest declining professions due to low pay and lack of support from the community.
With salary adjustments provided by the county commissioners, we are filling vacancies with many former employees that had left for higher paying salaries.
As sheriff, I will restructure the schedule to maximize coverage and minimize response time with the current staff which will better serve our community.
With more deputies on the road, we will be able to deter crime and enforce criminal law more efficiently.
This will enable more time to spend focusing on drugs, gangs and violent criminals — all areas that will make our communities safer.
What needs to be done to improve mental health services in Halifax County? What would be the role of a sheriff in addressing this issue?
Unfortunately, the mental health system in NC is broken.
County government along with the sheriff’s office has been working diligently to better serve inmates as many suffer from mental illness.
As the result of mental illness, inmates oftentimes are arrested for crimes which could have been avoided had they been actively receiving care.
The county has been participating in the stepping up initiative for many years now.
However, when Halifax County joined forces with Trillium Health Resources the stepping up initiative not only continued but enhanced services and opportunities for the jail.
Some of the enhancements allow for a social worker to visit not only in the jail, but out in the field with deputies to hopefully prevent some of the repeat offenders that suffer from such mental illnesses.
This has been a program that county management and I have been working on with hopes to provide services to a part of the community that is often left behind.
The mental health problem in whole doesn’t fall on the sheriff, however, the inmates and repeat offenders do.
As your sheriff, I will continue to build and expand upon the programs that we currently have in place.
Do you support the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes? Please explain why or why not
Should North Carolina adopt laws supporting medical marijuana, I would support that movement.
Do you support the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes? Please explain why or why not
I have a hard time supporting the legalization of recreational marijuana.
In 26 years of service, I have had the opportunity to hold many conversations with users. Some of these users have shared with me that they began using marijuana at a very early age.
As they continued their use, more illicit drugs became their norm.
Many of them felt as though that marijuana was their gateway drug.
Now, not all marijuana users use or experiment with harsher illicit drugs, but it has been my experience that many of the addicts of illicit drugs began smoking marijuana at an early age.
I will also acknowledge that there are many marijuana users that are not using illicit drugs and are good folks within our communities.
Now, should NC legalize marijuana, I will support that law change.
Do you support the construction of a new county jail? Please expound upon your answer, stating how you would go about seeking support from commissioners, what alternatives you see as possible, or whether you support the concept of a regional jail.
Having a new county jail would ease overcrowding in our current jail.
The need for a new jail is overdue, however, I do realize that funding for such a project is a huge obstacle.
Not only do you have the funding issue for the structure, but then there is the increased staffing and salaries that would need to be accounted for as well.
Over the past eight years, the sheriff’s office has worked with the county commissioners and the county management team with hopes to overcome the overcrowding jail issue by expanding the jail we have in place.
Many counties throughout North Carolina face the same overcrowding issues we have here. Therefore, there would be opportunities to rent bed spaces to other counties which would help offset the cost of a new jail. Thus far, we haven’t been able to secure a new jail.
I am very open minded to the regional jail concept. However, regional jails are not free of charge and an increase in budget would need to be considered.
How would you address the seemingly rising tide of youthful offenders committing violent crimes? What needs to be done to prevent this and what is the role of the sheriff in this?
Crime in youth has been rising across the country.
In many situations, I believe that this is the result of lack of parenting as parents are working and lack of constructive activities for our youth to occupy their time.
I have and I will always do all that I can to try and help our youth avoid the criminal court path. Through our Junior Deputy Camp that we have held for the past eight years, we have been a positive role model to our youth throughout the county.
Over the years we have mentored and built positive relationships with hundreds of kids from our communities.
If we are able to save or prevent one child from taking to the streets, programs such as Junior Deputy Camp are successful and worth every dollar.
I would love to see every kid in our county have the opportunity to play team sports.
Many of the communities here in Halifax County don’t offer youth athletics. This is a problem and I look forward to working with the leaderships in each community to build a youth program and get as many kids off of the streets where they are learning the criminal behavior.
How could the dismissals in the Glenview quadruple homicides be prevented? What should have been done differently?
It is unfortunate that my opponents have attempted to politicize this. I however won’t. Many have spoken on hearsay as they don’t know the facts of the case. This is still an open investigation, therefore I will not jeopardize the integrity of the case by discussing the facts.
While there has been a movement to increase the starting pay of deputies, how do you propose to sustain salaries and keep them competitive?
I will continue to work with county management and the county commissioners as we move forward. Open and continued discussion is paramount in keeping the deputy and detention officer’s salaries competitive.
Who has been your biggest influence in your career?
As a young officer, I had several folks that I looked up to — many that helped mold me into the officer I am today.
I have two in mind.
The first is Jay Burch.
Jay was instrumental in me joining the Roanoke Rapids Police force where I began my career. Once on the force, I had the opportunity to encounter Bruce Temple.
Bruce has always been there to mentor and guide not only me but many of the officers that serve our community today. Both of these men as well as several others will always hold a special place in my career.
Please provide a brief summation of what the sheriff’s office would be like under your leadership.
I would continue to build upon the foundation that we have built over the past couple of years. The relationship between the sheriff’s office and Halifax County management and the Halifax County Commissioners has been highly successful.
During the pandemic we had a very informative and cooperative relationship with the health department.
Our child support and investigative staff constantly rave about the relationship that they have with the Department of Social Services.
We have a deputy assigned to the tax department and he constantly gives, and receives praise as part of his duties with their office.
Our maintenance department is second to none.
The magic that they perform daily on the repairs to the detention center is short of miraculous. We have a tremendous relationship with our Human Resources Department.
They are very attentive to our personnel needs and recently were very instrumental in a successful salary adjustment.
In our daily interaction with the finance department I can tell you that this staff is incredibly resourceful and knowledgeable in how to get the most out of a dollar.
They are truly deserving of the awards that they have won.
The county manager’s office is incredible.
The leadership and the time that they spend listening to needs is superb.
Whether we are dealing with our county attorney or the county manager herself, our relationship is nothing short of spectacular.
There are other county departments that I may have left off, but I can tell you I am proud to work with each and every one of these professionals every day.
During my time at this office, I have developed a strong and supportive relationship with our county commissioners.
I can say that we often agree and sometimes disagree, but in the end I know these credible men and women have the best interests of the county at heart.
Halifax County is fortunate to have their leadership.
I say all of this to say that what we have accomplished regarding the infrastructure at the sheriff’s office was done with a collaborative effort.
I love sports so I am going to call it “good teamwork!”
In the past few years our office has begun to turn around our failing motor fleet.
Two years ago our average patrol vehicle had 190,000 miles on it.
The pilot project approved by County Manager Dia Denton and supported by our county commissioners has been short of life-saving for our fleet operations.
The strongly-supported leasing agreement has started to correct the issues we were having with our motor fleet, and it will save the county money in the long run.
We have written many grants in the past few years. Some successfully approved, and others not.
Nonetheless, we have been able to purchase new bulletproof vests, firearms, computers, body cameras, Tasers, and many other critical pieces of equipment.
We are truly better equipped than at any time since I have been with this office.
We have increased training so that all of our first-line supervisors up to executive-level staff have been exposed to leadership theories and practices.
We have a large majority of staff that have either obtained their intermediate or their advanced certifications with the NC Sheriff’s Training and Standards Division.
Our investigators are learning new and innovative ways of interviewing witnesses, victims and suspects, and our crime scene technology enhancements have provided us with advanced skills never imagined before.
We train for thousands of hours each year.
This training continues to make us a more competent department with the ability to better recognize evolving crime patterns and behaviors.
We have a new records management system that not only allows us to capture crime trends, patterns and other data, but it also allows us the opportunity to transparently share some of this information with the public.
We have trained all of our staff in new and innovative mental health awareness tactics, and have made sure that deputies are capable of understanding the impacts they may have on people with cognitive disorders.
With our recent salary adjustment we are starting to turn the tide with our staffing issues, and we hope that soon we will be fully staffed.
We have strong policies and procedures in place.
These help protect us from liability and keep us striving towards constant professionalism.
We have a wonderful commitment to our community and have on many occasions involved members from other county departments to assist us in our service efforts.
Our community engagement is stronger than it has ever been.
None of what I have spoken of here would have been possible without the cooperation and team-first attitude that we have with our county manager’s office and county leadership.
Although there is always work to be done, I can say that the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office is stronger than ever.
We are committed to service, protection, and our core values of “Professionalism, Respect, Integrity, Dedication and Excellence.”
If you notice, these values spell our the word PRIDE.
Our mission here at the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office is to professionally, courageously, and with integrity serve the citizens and visitors of our county.
It is with this that we vow to protect our citizens, families, and businesses from threats, damages, theft, and injury while utilizing technology and other 21st Century innovations.
We will engage our community using positive values and maintain trust while building excellence.
While doing these things we will set an undeniable example as we value, nurture, teach, and lead our team to ensure that we are providing the best law enforcement and detention services possible.
We are getting better every day.
Yes, there is work that still needs to be done.
We value our relationship with our county government and county leadership.
But, most importantly we value our relationship with you — the citizens of Halifax County. Thank you for allowing us to serve you.