This county’s not big enough for the two of them – that is, for Democratic Guilford County Sheriff Danny Rogers and Republican Phil Byrd, who’s trying very hard to take that job away from Rogers.
In reality, Guilford County, with 646 square miles of territory, is big enough to house both men peaceably – however, Byrd wants to see Rogers voted out of the high sheriff’s office in downtown Greensboro.
Byrd told the Rhino Times this week that the department, under Rogers, has a major morale problem and he added that one clear indication of that is the persistent number of vacancies the department perpetually cannot fill under Rogers no matter what.
The county has raised pay, offered signing bonuses, increased benefits and offered other perks for Sheriff’s Department jobs, but Byrd said that Rogers’ practices and demeanor have been driving good officers away and keeping others from applying – especially detention officers.
Byrd said Rogers created much of the problem for himself from the first day he became Guilford County sheriff nearly four years ago. At that time, Rogers – in a story that made state and even national news – immediately fired more than two dozen well-respected officers out of fear that they were too loyal to former Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes.
According to Byrd, Rogers was never qualified for the job and it was a shocker when he won. He said Rogers then found himself in over his head.
“I never thought he would be in this position,” Byrd said. “I don’t think Danny has a plan.”
He compared Rogers’ running of the department to “ping pong” – where things bounce back and forth but never really move forward in any one direction.
“I really don’t see any accomplishments he has brought,” Byrd said,
He also said Roger’s fascination with cowboy hats and flashy suits hasn’t inspired confidence in anyone.
Byrd said that he also, like many people, thought it was a major mistake roughly three years ago when Rogers fired a very well-respected upper-level detention employee –without, Byrd and others claim, any justification.
He said that truly hurt morale among jail staff.
According to Byrd, if he’s elected sheriff he’ll bring some real direction to the department and work with County Manager Mike Halford to make moves that quickly raise morale. He added that, “based on a straw poll” he’d conducted with department employees, they would be much more likely to stay with the department if Rogers wasn’t the head of it anymore.
Byrd said he, on the other hand, has a solid plan to shore up employee retention and to help repair some of the damage Rogers has done in his four years at the helm. He said he knows the department inside and out since he’s commanded the department’s Personnel and Training Division, Internal Affairs Division, School Resource Officers Division and the Field Operations Division.
Byrd has also been a detention officer, patrol officer, narcotics officer and a criminal investigator.
He said his 30 years of widespread experience with the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office is a stark contrast to Rogers’ law enforcement past.
“The Sheriff’s Office,” Byrd said, needs “responsible leadership”
Byrd states in his campaign literature: “What I will promise is to work steadfast on a professional law enforcement organization with men and women eager and ambitious to make a difference in the quality of lives of our citizens and to provide quality unbiased service to its communities. Restoring Morale will create a more productive Sheriff’s Office.”