Former Guilford County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Edward Melvin, who became an integral part of the Sheriff’s Department after current Sheriff Danny Rogers won that job in the 2018 election, is now going to do his best to unseat Rogers in 2022 and lead that large department for the next four years.
Melvin said this week that he intends to file to run for the county’s top law enforcement job when the filing period opens next week.
The former chief deputy said that, when Rogers first won the job in 2018, he really wanted Rogers to succeed – and wanted to do all he could to help. Melvin said that, early on, however, he saw Rogers make decisions that, Melvin said, were extremely harmful to the department.
He said he stepped down from the chief deputy job in 2019 because he didn’t want to play any role in the department’s downfall.
“I was really hoping he would be a Cinderella story,” he said of Rogers, adding that those hopes were quickly dashed.
Melvin said that he was totally opposed to the mass firings Rogers conducted in late 2018. Soon after Rogers was elected, he ousted more than 25 deputies and other employees with little to no explanation.
According to Melvin, it was unconscionable for Rogers to fire long-time, hard-working dedicated employees simply because Rogers worried they were loyal to former Sheriff BJ Barnes.
“There was absolutely no reason for that,” Melvin said of the mass firing. He added, “These people have families. If I’m elected, I’m not going to fire anyone. There’s only one person who’ll have to go – Danny Rogers.”
According to Melvin, many people he talks to are surprised that he’s running for sheriff on the Republican side of the ticket. He said he was speaking with another Republican candidate who just assumed he, Melvin, would be running as a Democrat. But Melvin, who says he voted for Donald Trump in the last two elections, sounds very much like a Republican.
Melvin said one reason it’s the right time to run now is that he is a huge opponent of Critical Race Theory. He said in some parts of the country there’s been an effort to investigate parents who complain about that subject being taught in schools.
“If I am the sheriff, I will not ever weaponize the department against parents who just want to express their views, which is their right as an American.”
He said that it’s absurd to suggest that one race should “take a back seat” to another race. He said everyone should be treated equally and, if elected, that’s exactly how he would treat everyone in the department and in the county.
Melvin shares another view popular with conservatives.
“I am so against Black Lives Matter,” he said. “I don’t support any group that believes in defunding the police. Any group that believes in burning down buildings, looting and rioting.”
The sheriff’s candidate-to-be also noted that, the more he worked under Rogers and talked to the officers, he became much more respectful of the job Barnes did in the office. For instance, he said, one woman of color that Barnes fired created an uproar among some in the local African-American community, but Rogers said that, when he joined the department and started looking into the situation, it became clear that Barnes was perfectly justified in firing the woman. He said the woman’s actions left Barnes no choice.
During his two and half decades as sheriff, Barnes’ critics often accused him of practicing racially biased promotion, however, Melvin said that what he discovered after taking his job as chief deputy is that the claim against Barnes didn’t hold water.
The fact that Melvin is getting into the race should come as no surprise to Rogers. When Melvin left the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department in 2019, he handed Rogers a letter several pages long that, among other things, told Rogers that he, Melvin, would be running in 2022.
Born in South Carolina in 1960, Melvin is a former NC Highway Patrol officer who now lives in Summerfield and runs a highway maintenance company that does work for the State of North Carolina.
Melvin joined the Highway Patrol in 1989 and worked out of Vance County before moving to Guilford County. He served for seven years as a military police officer in the Air Force before joining the Highway Patrol.