Republican candidate for Guilford County Sheriff Ed Melvin is making an interesting pledge as part of his campaign.

Melvin said this week that, if he‘s elected sheriff, he will offer to re-hire all of the Sheriff’s Department employees who were fired without cause by current Guilford County Sheriff Danny Rogers.

Rogers made national news in 2019 when, soon after being elected sheriff, he fired about 25 employees as his first major act.

Since then, Melvin said, there have been others fired without cause as well, and Melvin pledged to rehire all of them, from lieutenant on down.  He added that he would consider rehiring the captains on a case by case basis.

It’s not known if they would like their old jobs back, but Melvin says that the offer will be there if he’s elected.

According to Melvin and many others with knowledge of the firings, Rogers was concerned that many officers were loyal to former longtime Sheriff BJ Barnes and worried they would try to undermine him.

“If I’m elected Sheriff, my first priority would be to immediately re-hire all employees that were terminated without cause by Danny Rogers,” Melvin said. “This offer to re-hire will be extended to all lieutenants and below, sworn and non-sworn, uniform and civilian workers who were terminated by Danny.”

Melvin added that anyone wishing to return will be placed in the same rank and position they occupied when they left – and, if a certain rank or position isn’t available, Melvin will try to place that person in an equivalent position if possible.

Melvin worked on Rogers’ campaign in 2019 and was named as the department’s chief deputy by Rogers after Rogers won.  Melvin said Rogers went on the firing spree largely at the behest of another newly named top officer who once worked under Barnes.

According to Melvin, the list of those to be fired when Rogers took control was originally twice as large, but his, Melvin’s, pleadings were somewhat effective in getting Rogers to scale down the firings.

Melvin said he also suggested that Rogers let the people continue working for a while before letting anyone go.  He said he thought that then Rogers would see they were not untrustworthy officers.

“When I first saw the list, my jaw just hit the floor,” Melvin said.  “It was almost 50 people. I said, ‘You think they are BJ Barnes’s loyalists – but maybe they are sheriff’s office  loyalists.’ These people had families; they had careers, and he was just throwing them away like they were nothing.”

Melvin said that, at one point he told Rogers he would resign if another one was fired without cause, and, when that happened, he did resign his chief deputy position.

He said a lot of people including himself – who were critics of the way Barnes ran the department – were mistaken, and, he added, it’s clear now in hindsight to many that Barnes ran a fair, efficient and above-board Sheriff’s Department.

Melvin said firing jail staff especially was a mistake because the department already had a major shortage of jail workers.

“This offer won’t be for employees who retired, or who were justifiably terminated,” Melvin said.

“I’m hoping to have all those wishing to return working at the sheriff’s office within 30 days of me taking office,” he added.