Guilford County Sheriff Danny Rogers, who surprised a great many people by winning that seat four years ago in a race against long-time former Sheriff BJ Barnes, won a majority of the vote this time around to hold that office another four years.

In the Tuesday. Nov. 8 election, Rogers, a Democrat, pulled in 56 percent of the vote, more than enough to defeat Republican Phil Byrd – who had the endorsement of Barnes and of a lot of other Republicans who wanted to see Rogers ousted as the county’s sheriff.

Rogers once again will hold the extremely important job as the top law enforcement official in the county.  The Guilford County Sheriff’s Department has over 600 employees and a budget of over $65 million.  It oversees the jail system and plays a central role in protecting county residents, property, schools and the court system.

Rogers’ bio on the Guilford County website expresses his stated priorities and gives the reasons residents should want him to keep the job: “Sheriff Rogers has instituted proactive tactics to fighting crime, challenging injustice, and works alongside his officers to get the job done. He is committed to reducing crime, providing safe schools, streets and neighborhoods, eliminating drug and gang activity through youth program initiatives, combating sex trafficking, reducing recidivism, addressing mental health concerns inside and outside the jails, preventing domestic violence, and requiring community policing. He understands that the new Guilford County jail opened its doors the same day one of the oldest mental health hospitals in North Carolina closed its doors and now incarceration has become a storage facility for people in crisis. As a result, he is committed to reentry initiatives that will reduce crime, expand services for mental illness, and bring positive transformations to families.”

Byrd and others, however, have been critical of the way Rogers has run the department over the last four years.  They point out that his first move as sheriff was to fire nearly 30 officers without cause, and then, over the following four years, complain frequently about the large number of vacancies in the department.

Rogers has also come under criticism for his showmanship – which includes flashy clothes, a love of cowboy hats, a Tik Tok video and a funky-chicken-esque dance exhibition during the North Carolina A&T State University homecoming parade last month.

Rogers’ backers argue that he has done a great deal to reduce racism in the department and has been forward-thinking and wholistic in his approach to reducing crime and ending the revolving door problem in the jails.

Rogers even went through the jail and hugged inmates early in his term, which caused Barnes to dub the practice “Hug-A-Thug.”

Rogers’ affinity for cowboy hats even generated a rumor that Rogers had the department spend thousands of taxpayer dollars on cowboy hats for officers.  However, in response to a public records request on the matter from the Rhino Times, the county stated, “The Guilford County Sheriff’s Office did not purchase cowboy hats for any officers.”