After the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, some cities and counties across the country are looking at defunding their law enforcement departments. Guilford County is not one of those places.
At a Tuesday, June 9 budget work session of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, Chairman Jeff Phillips made it crystal clear to Guilford County Sheriff Danny Rogers and other Sheriff’s Department officials in the room that the board he chairs would not even be discussing the idea of defunding the department.
Phillips’ remarks came after several other commissioners had also spoken on the importance of a well-financed Sheriff’s Department.
“It’s been said several times here that it would be to the detriment of Guilford County to even begin to consider the notion of defunding our law enforcement representatives – to include you, the Sheriff’s Department, which is obviously under our purview,” Phillips said.
Phillips, who isn’t running for reelection as a county commissioner in November, said the defunding idea should be completely off the table.
“At least on my watch – while that’s only a few short months away from change – that will never be a consideration,” the chairman said. “And so I’ll encourage any commissioners that I have a relationship with in the future not to consider the same.”
Over the past year and a half, the relationship between the Board of Commissioners and the Sheriff’s Department has been rocky at times, but some of that gap seems to have been bridged this month due to the close communication necessitated by the recent protests and riots in Guilford County.
“We began to talk earlier last week,” Phillips told Rogers at the work session in the Blue Room on the first floor of the Old Guilford County Court House. “I asked if you would keep me posted, updated, as any developments occurred. I reiterated that ask again late last week and you were on point with doing so – and gracious and forthcoming, candid, with each of the conversations we had. And I can’t tell you how valuable that was to me personally and this board and our citizens for you to be proactively reaching out in the way that you did. I commend you for that and I commend your team. I appreciate you and our department as a whole. Thank you. There are always challenges behind us and before us, and I think our confidence and my confidence – in particular in you and in leadership – is growing, and I think our citizens should follow suit.”