Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes said on Tuesday, Nov. 27 that Guilford County Sheriff-elect Danny Rogers is conducting a “bloodletting” – defined as an indiscriminate massacre – of the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department by firing a huge number of officers, including many who play key leadership roles in the department.
Barnes said this was clearly a politically motivated mass firing that’s a frightening development for the county because Rogers doesn’t know anything about running a Sheriff’s Department and, now, he won’t have many experienced leaders in the department to help him.
“It’s 27 and counting,” Barnes said of the number of Sheriff’s Department officers Rogers had fired so far.
Barnes said these are dedicated men and women who have served the county dutifully for years – whose only sin seems to be that Rogers perceives them as being loyal to Barnes.
Rogers is scheduled to be sworn in as the county’s next sheriff on Monday, Dec. 3.
Barnes said that, when he came in as sheriff in the mid-90s, he only fired two people, and in both cases it was for cause: One was a jailer who had a number of escapes on his watch and the other was an officer who’s misconduct made it clear they had to go.
Barnes said the fact that Rogers is getting rid of top administrators is especially foreboding. For instance, Barnes said, Rogers fired Major Jeffry Rollins, who now runs the county’s two jails.
Rogers fired many other key people as well.
“They got rid of the person who ran the administrative offices,” Barnes said. “She knows everything.”
Barnes pointed out that the head of the administrative offices, the head of the jails and the officer who oversees the sheriff’s officers in the court system will now all be gone. Barnes said Rogers was already “in way over his head” before the firings – and, now, Barnes said, with a lack of experienced officers to help run the department, the county is in real jeopardy.
“They’re not going to have a clue what to do,” Barnes said of Rogers and his new staff.
Rogers said Barnes’ concerns were completely unfounded.
“We’re going to be fine,” Rogers said. “We did send out letters to people since we are making a transition.”
He said those who are being let go needed to be.
“We believe our transition team did a great job of vetting people,” Rogers said.
“BJ Barnes had made it known that he was out to destroy me and my administration,” he said, adding that it would be counterproductive to have them remain in the department when he was a new sheriff trying to improve things.
Rogers said he wants to bring positive change to the department and he added that not everyone likes that.
“Change is always tough,” he said. “The new people will be a better fit.”
Rogers said he didn’t know the number of officers and other staff who were being let go, but he said this was a necessary move because those loyal to Barnes would have no doubt attempted to undermine him and his efforts to take the department in a new direction.
Barnes said it was especially despicable the way that Rogers was conducting a politically motivated mass firing right before Christmas.
Barnes also said that, when he was sheriff, he knew there were some officers who were backing Rogers and feeding Rogers information, but Barnes said he let those officers remain on the force as long as they did their jobs well and conducted themselves properly.