On Monday, Dec. 10, the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department released a list of the names of 25 employees fired by new Sheriff Danny Rogers and his staff. With the entire list now public, many are attempting to read the tea leaves and discover why, out of 631 employees in the Sheriff’s Department, those 25 were dismissed.
Rogers has publicly and repeatedly stated a number of reasons: With some, he said, he didn’t feel they would be loyal to him because of their strong ties to former six-term Sheriff BJ Barnes; some, Rogers claimed, were kept on after retirement by Barnes as a favor; some were ineffective or worse, Rogers contends, and were therefore employees Barnes should have gotten rid of a long time ago if he wanted a well-run department.
Those dismissed from the Sheriff’s Department range from employees hired in the early 1970s to one employee who was hired less than a year ago. The list includes those hired in the ‘80s, ‘90s and 2000s as well as in the current decade.
The Rhino Timeshasn’t been able to verify the race of every officer on the list but it appears as though, give or take one, five of the 25 let go were African-American.
One former Sheriff’s Department officer who left the department before the recent election said that one of the fired officers was asked by a member of Rogers’ staff about his endorsement of Barnes in the 2018 election. He said that the fired officer had publically endorsed Barnes in a print ad and a member of Roger’s administrative team asked him who he had supported in the last election.
The former officer said the recently fired officer responded, “I supported BJ, the man who gave me a job, but I will be completely loyal to Sheriff Rogers.”
That officer got a letter of dismissal soon after that response, according to the source.
Former Sheriff Barnes has been silent since Roger’s swearing in but, before Rogers became sheriff, Barnes stated in an email that there’s no way Rogers could have properly vetted those fired employees as he claimed to have done. Barnes said Rogers didn’t have access to the personnel information one would need to make an informed decision.
“The only info he would have is the same you can get with a public records request until he is actually sworn in,” Barnes wrote in an email.
The employee information available in that way is limited to dates of employment, job title and salary.
“The same goes for his ‘staff,’” Barnes wrote. “He set up a time for personal interviews but blew it off, meaning canceled. The sheriff-elect in Davidson County did personal interviews with each employee which resulted in not keeping five, which was the logical way to do it.”
Barnes also wrote in that email that, when he was first elected sheriff, he evaluated the department in a reasoned manner.
“In my case, I had meetings with top personnel only,” the Barnes wrote, “I did not keep two. Having his own leadership is fine and smart if he feels the other leadership is not going to support his vision, but he got into the bowels of the office dismissing people his ‘staff’ had issues with.”
Barnes added, “One of the officers got Danny’s cell and called to ask for five minutes to state his case. Danny told him he didn’t talk with employees, he needed to talk with staff. One employee was turning in gear and walked by Danny and ‘staff’ and introduced himself. Danny did not have a clue who he was. These folks were professionals.”
Barnes added, “One, when his ‘staff’ was pressed about why, was told he ‘liked’ a positive post about the sheriff’s office I put on Facebook.”
According to Barnes, one detention officer fired was hired less than a year ago and had just finished jail school,
“What could he possibly have done that would warrant not being given a chance?” Barnes asked in the email.