Now that all the initial drama has passed from the seismic shift in leadership at the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department, new Sheriff Danny Rogers says he’s getting down to the nuts and bolts of reshaping the department and he said that his new leadership model can be summed up in two words – “fairness” and “structure.”
Rogers said that he, like everyone, is inevitably going to make mistakes as he revamps a Sheriff’s Department that had the same leadership – former Sheriff BJ Barnes – for nearly a quarter of a century. Rogers, who took office on Monday, Dec. 3 after beating Barnes in the November election, said it will not always go perfectly.
“Are we saying that we’re not going to have any hiccups?” Rogers said. “Yeah, we’re going to have hiccups – and hiccups can hurt.”
However, he added, the people of Guilford County are going to end up with a new and vastly improved Sherriff’s Department.
Rogers said that, since being sworn in earlier this month, he’s gone on patrols, visited facilities, met the men and women of the department and started to settle into the job along with his top staff.
“We are going through and we are feeling our way through with the great men and women of the office that have helped us,” he said. “There’s a lot of great men and women working at the sheriff’s office and, I actually believe, as long as I’m the sheriff, I’m going to give them equality and fairness.”
Rogers didn’t come right out and say that in his opinion that will be in stark contrast to the previous department under Barnes; however, on the campaign trail one of Rogers’ constant criticisms of Barnes was that he had “a clique,” and he didn’t hire and promote enough minority officers. Rogers said that ends now under his watch.
“I don’t care nothing about your race, your religion – nothing,” he said.
In the past Rogers has argued that Barnes showed extreme favoritism to a select group at the expense of the rest of the department. Rogers said it’s unfair to the citizens of Guilford County if he takes “30,40 or 50 people” out of the hundreds in the department, and treats them in a special way.
“That’s not right,” he said. “I’m talking about fairness across the board. I don’t have any clique and I’m not in bed with anybody. We want to do it right.”
The new sheriff in town has already promised a slew of other changes including those meant to bring more structure, which he also said is going to be a hallmark of his administration. He said that, in the past, many officers could come and go as they pleased, but now, under his administration, all officers will have to sign in and out or check in and out.
“Structure, structure – people want structure,” Rogers said.
He has also promised a new physical fitness program for the force – and for himself – and he has said that patrol officers and others who interact with the public will start wearing hats.