Guilford County Sheriff Danny Rogers and his staff have been waiting over two years for a new Sheriff’s Department headquarters and this week both Rogers and Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston said it’s frustrating the project is taking so long.
They said it seems as though the county has been dragging its feet on the headquarters while other major projects are either already completed or are moving along briskly.
The move for a new Sheriff’s Department headquarters started long before Rogers was elected Sheriff in November of 2018. Plans for the headquarters were moving forward when former Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes was still the county’s top law enforcement official, and Rogers said this week something that he’s said several times before that the county made it much more of a priority under the former sheriff than they did after Rogers, took charge of the office.
Rogers made the comments while waiting for the arrival of Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday, April 19, when Harris visited the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in downtown Greensboro.
Rogers said that, if former Sheriff BJ Barnes were still sheriff, the headquarters would have likely been open by now.
Barnes was a white Republican sheriff, and, until early December of 2020, the board was run by a majority of white Republican men. On several issues since being elected, Rogers has argued that the previous board was reluctant to provide adequately for his department’s needs. Rogers said the board was much more accommodating when Barnes was sheriff.
A new Democratic majority Board of Commissioners took charge of the county in December of 2020, and, at a Board of Commissioners retreat a month and a half ago ago, Alston, the current Democratic chairman who is a black man, made it clear to staff that he felt the county had been very slow regarding the project and he wanted that to change.
The Guilford County Sheriff’s Department is currently headquartered in the Otto Zenke Building at 400 West Washington St. in downtown Greensboro. For years, staff there have pointed out structural problems with the aging building. Though some money has been spent to make repairs and alleviate flooding issues, the administrative staff are eager to get a new headquarters.
Other major and expensive projects that began about the same time – such as a new Guilford County Behavioral Health Center, a new animal shelter and a new Emergency Services vehicle maintenance facility have proceeded along nicely.