Six men are running for Orange County sheriff to succeed Lindy Pendergrass, who is retiring after serving 32 years and eight consecutive terms.
All are running as Democrats, so the primary in May will decide who will be Orange County's new sheriff, unless there is a successful write-in candidacy in November.
A county sheriff is responsible for patrolling the county, responding to calls for service, investigating crimes, operating and maintaining the county jail, serving civil process papers, providing security in courthouses and courtrooms, running the county’s sex offender registry program, hiring deputies and preparing budgets for consideration by the county commissioners.
Here are the candidates.
Address: 100 Pinewood Drive, Chapel Hill
Family: Married to Lisa Williams Blackwood of Chapel Hill; daughter, Jordan, 22; son: Casey, 20
Education: Chapel Hill High School, 1978; Basic Law Enforcement Training, N.C. Justice Academy, 1981; Administrative Officer's Management Program, N.C. State University, 2000. More than 2,600 hours of continued law enforcement training approved by the N.C. Justice Academy
Experience: Orange County Sheriff's Office, 32 years. Retired 2012 after attaining the rank of Major of Operations.
Endorsements: Ralph Stephenson, Major Wake County Sheriff's Office (Retired); J. Todd Hardee, Darlington County Coroner, Darlington, S.C.; Justice Harry C. Martin, North Carolina Supreme Court (Retired); Alana Ennis, Chief of Police UNC-CH, Duke University, City of Burlington, Vt. (Retired).
Campaign Statement: I began my career with the Orange County Sheriff's Office in 1980 when I was assigned to the Uniform Patrol Division. I rose through the ranks and was promoted to corporal, sergeant and then lieutenant in the Patrol Division.
In 2003, I was promoted to Captain of Services, where I supervised the courts, the civil process division and the crisis unit.
In 2010, I was promoted to Major of Operations, where my duties required me to respond to and direct all divisions of the sheriff's office. In 2011, I was selected by Executive Vice President and General Counsel of the North Carolina Sheriff's Association, Edmund W. Caldwell, Jr., to assist in the development of the Sheriff's Leadership Institute, specialized training for newly elected sheriffs across the state. At my retirement, Orange County Sheriff Lindy Pendergrass presented me with The Order of The Long Leaf Pine, awarded by former Gov. Beverly Purdue, for dedicated service to the State of North Carolina.
After my retirement, I was appointed to the Orange County Jury Commission by Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Carl R. Fox. As a lifelong resident of Orange County and 32-year veteran of the Orange County Sheriff's Office, I'm uniquely qualified to serve as your sheriff.
My leadership style and management skills are proven, and I have firsthand knowledge of what it takes to run an efficient and effective law enforcement organization. I'm the only candidate who has served in, managed or supervised all the divisions of the sheriff's office and therefore, have a clear understanding of the unique requirements of each division.
Address: 3420 Mt. Willing Road., Efland
Contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Family: Wife, Alana; son, Neal; daughters Brooke and Erica
Education: North Carolina GED
Work experience: 20 years hands-on business management, 16 years real estate properties manager, 15 years business owner/manager, 10 years public relations touring music group, four years assistant manger automotive service center, nine years automotive technician
Endorsements: Bobby Baker - O.C. Emergency Service Director (Ret.); Chief Steve McCauley -Orange Grove-VFD; Capt. Dexter Davis - Hillsborough Police Department (Ret.); Cpl. Steve Minton - Orange County Sheriff Office (Ret.); Sgt. Kenny May - Durham Police Department (Ret.); Chief Investigator Larry Talbert - Orange County Sheriff's Office (Ret.); Bill Burnett - Orange County Sheriff's Office (Ret.); Former Investigator Capt. Robert Kester - Orange County Sheriff's Office and Interim Chief (H-PD Ret.); Capt. E.J. Parks - U.S. Navy (Ret.); CSM Ricky A Dodson - U.S. Air Force (Ret.); Sp4 Johnny Harrison - U.S. Army (Ret.).
Campaign statement: I will begin the process for the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to become a member of the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies(CALEA), as this will show transparency, accountability and will give us guidance and set goals for a successful future. We will foster new programs in the schools that deal directly with the effects of bullying and cyber bullying like Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP).
I have a plan that will reduce response times for service calls and create better communication between residents and the sheriff’s office. My plan also includes a Green Fleet, and I would like to convert the current sheriff’s office fleet to propane auto gas. Fully implemented to the sheriff’s office fleet, this will save $600,000 to $800,000 over a period of four years. We can do this at no cost to the citizens of Orange County.
I have been a resident of Orange County since 1992 and reside in the Efland area of the county. My family and I are well acquainted with the public eye. In December 1999 with what started as a hobby, quickly turned into a rigorous schedule of events as my family shared their musical talents with the local community. From 2001-2007, The Cagle Family toured extensively covering nearly half the nation. All the while, I maintained my local business, served as the booking agent for the band and was a festival coordinator/event director in a neighboring town for several years.
•David Caldwell Jr.
Address: 8108 Rogers Road, Chapel Hill
Contact info: email@example.com
Family: Married to Rosie Caldwell, five children and 10 grandchildren My father and three brothers retired from local law enforcement.
Education: Graduated from Chapel Hill High School and N.C. Central University. Received N.C. Law Enforcement Training Certificate; second degree in Criminal Justice from Mt. Olive College.
Work experience: Worked at Carrboro Police Department before entering the U.S. Army Military Police Corps; deployed to Germany and worked as a bodyguard for high-ranking generals; deployed to the West Indies during the invasion of Grenada. Joined the Army Reserves as a drill instructor.
From 1988, I worked as an officer in Orange County Sheriff’s Department, serving for two decades, achieving the rank of lieutenant in Patrol Division, Senior Field Training Officer and SWAT team member. I retired from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department with more than 22 years of service; earned a second degree in criminal justice from Mt. Olive College before beginning a career as an environmental justice organizer.
Endorsements: Rev. Robert Campbell, Mr. Fred Battle, Mark Dorosin, Sterling Holt, Bruce Irving, The Hank Anderson Breakfast Club, Virginia Leslie, Nate Davis, Al McSurley, Danny Caldwell, Larry Caldwell, Darryl Caldwell, Paul Caldwell, John Davis, Alice Holley, Willie McIver, Wesley Johnson, Robert Little, Dr. Steve Wing, Dr. Chris Heaney.
Campaign statement: It is the duty of every citizen, public agency and organization to strive to improve the quality of life for each individual for whom they are responsible. No single person or group should suffer at the expense of others so that every citizen has equal access to information, options and opportunities for their benefit and success. We can’t accomplish this objective if we aren’t able to communicate with each other or understand more deeply the diverse makeup of the community in which we live.
If elected, I will make sure that enforcement of the law is administered equally and fairly, and most of all, that it is understood I would emphasize community outreach and a more aggressive recruitment of minorities to reflect and work within the diverse nature of our community. I would seek to have a community that is better educated in legal policy and procedures to help all citizens get help when needed.
This is the first step in resolving the cycle of misunderstanding and unfair treatment. Realizing this mission creates a much stronger, close-knit, law-abiding community where everyone shares success.
My life is here in this area, and I come from a family that has long served Orange County. I am running for sheriff because I care about what happens in my community, and I feel I have a great deal to bring to the office from all my years of education, travel and experience working with diverse groups and situations.
Address: 5321 Elm Grove Lane, Chapel Hill
Contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Family: I am married to Shelley Rimmel Faucette, who retired from Orange County Schools after 30 years of teaching, and we have two daughters, Ashleigh, a senior at Miami University in Ohio, and Haleigh, a sophomore at the UNC Charlotte.
Education: 1975 graduate of Orange High School, attended Elon University, Basic Law Enforcement Certificate, Advanced Service Award, Advanced Law Enforcement Certificate
Work experience: I have 30 plus years of law enforcement experience with the Orange County Sheriff's Office. During my tenure, I supervised a number of divisions and rose through the ranks as sergeant, lieutenant and captain. I retired from the department in December 2009 and returned in August 2010 to work part-time as a school resource officer.
Endorsements: None Listed
Campaign statement: My first priority as sheriff is to protect and serve all the citizens of Orange County. I will work to serve the community to ensure that those served and those serving feel respected, secure and informed. I pledge to meet those expectations through openness, professionalism, cooperation, integrity and timeliness and to lead a law enforcement team that models accountability, diversity and fairness.
I will continue to support the successful programs established by Sheriff Lindy Pendergrass, such as Seniors and Law Enforcement Together(SALT), Community Watch, Gang Resistance Education And Training (GREAT), Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) and Life Track; as well as expand programs that positively impact and engage area youth. We need to explore initiatives that help keep our young people focused on their education and foster trust and communication with our team.
My other goals include: Bringing Orange County law enforcement and the public closer together to identify and address crime issues through better communication; creating a diverse team of law enforcement professionals who understand and relate to the community members we serve; Increasing safety and security of students and teachers by fostering cooperative relationships with schools that focus on prevention, intervention and response; promoting officer safety, health and welfare through required training and physical fitness; operating all levels of the department efficiently and providing a safe jail that meets state and federal mandates; and working closely with county commissioners to seek viable/ sustainable funding solutions for the department at all levels including improved compensation and working conditions for department and employees.
Address: 836 Oakdale Dr, Hillsborough
Contact info: Parker4Sheriff@nc.rr.com
Family: Alex Parker (son); Lane Parker (father); Elaine Parker (sister); Michael Parker (brother); Lynn Hill (stepsister)
Education: Orange High School Graduate,Vance-Granville Community College - Basic Law Enforcement Training, More than 2,000 hours of law enforcement training, Intermediate and Advanced Law Enforcement Certificates
Work experience: March 1995 to present - Hillsborough Police Department - sergeant
I supervised two patrol squads and supervised the Traffic Enforcement Unit. I was transferred to the Community Policing Division and was assigned as the sergeant over Special Enforcement, Special Operations, Special Events, Training and Logistics. I coordinated the department's mandatory in-service training and outside training opportunities for officers. I coordinated all special event requests inside the town limits.
I oversaw the purchase and installation of vehicles, emergency equipment, in-car video systems, mobile data terminals and uniforms. In the five years I served in this position I saved the taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars by negotiating the lowest possible price without compromising officer safety. I also worked closely with our Community Policing Coordinator. I now serve as one of the patrol supervisors. I am currently a certified NC Specialized Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor and continue to assist with training.
October 1994 to March 1995 - Orange County Sheriff's Department - Reserve Deputy
Endorsements: None listed
Campaign Statement: I am a lifelong resident of Orange County, and I believe that each and every one of us contributes to improving the quality of life of our citizens. The residents of Orange County deserve a fair and unbiased person leading the agency.
My promise to you? I will be fair, unbiased, have an open door policy and respect your ideas and suggestions for improvement of the sheriff's department.
I will start the transition to a paperless system of reporting once we are able to push out the Mobile Reporting Software (MRS) to each patrol unit. This will eliminate downtime and keep our deputies in the field and visible. We will work with the other agencies within the county so that all agencies will have access to the same information.
I have been a certified law enforcement instructor for more than 12 years. I feel that every deputy should have the opportunity to train and learn new skills in order to progress within the sheriff’s department. A training committee will be established to address any and all deficiencies.
Career progression is the next goal I would like to see put into place. This will in turn help to reward our dedicated employees and eliminate turnover within the agency.
We will acquire the proper equipment and tools for our deputies to work safely. We will not sacrifice officer safety to save a few dollars so we will make cuts in areas that will not endanger our deputies.
Address: 2313 White Cross Road, White Cross
Contact info: email@example.com
Family: Wife, Sherry, and a daughter, Arielle.
Education: Orange High School, Graduate, 1988, Basic Law Enforcement Training, Graduate 1993, more than 3,200 hours of additional continuing education and training.
Work experience: More than 20 years of law enforcement experience, serving in the following capacities:
Orange County Sheriff's Office: County Jail, Court and Transport Division, Patrol Division, selected for and worked in the K-9 division, SWAT member
Town of Hillsborough, police officer: Patrol Division, K-9 Unit, SWAT Member, Narcotics Unit, Corporal Shift Supervisor, Liaison: NC Highway Patrol and DEA
Town of Carrboro, police officer: Patrol Division, helped start the first K-9 unit, first K-9 trainer, Community Service Division, SWAT member, narcotics officer, assisted the U.S. Secret Service, SBI and ATF, promoted to corporal, sergeant, criminal investigator and presently a lieutenant.
Awards: Several Letters of Accommodation, Medal of Valor in 2008.
Other activities: I am a member of Antioch Baptist Church in White Cross as well as a deacon, having served in the past as an usher and youth volunteer. I also actively support the German Shepherd Rescue, Young Marines, White Cross Recreation Association, Orange Rape Crisis Center, Community Watch, Orange Congregations in Mission (OCIM), and the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program.
Campaign statement: Vote for me because I love Orange County and I have a passion for the public’s safety. As an experienced law enforcement officer, I have a great deal of high-quality training that I believe has prepared me to be the next sheriff. Even so, I am still young enough to handle the rigors of managing the sheriff’s office and bring forward-thinking ideas and best practices to better serve our communities.
I want to prioritize updating technology, engaging in outreach with our county’s diverse communities, including our Hispanic, Burmese, and Karen communities. I also want to work closely with other agencies and non-profits in our county to accomplish mutual goals such as sexual assault prevention and victim support, community development, mentoring and gang recruitment prevention. Transparency is also a goal of mine, so much so that I welcome having organizations like the ACLU come in and review our documentation for things such as traffic checkpoints.
Regarding reform in the sheriff’s office, I am happy to keep what works, but I think we need to consider new ways to enhance our ability to protect and serve the public. The sheriff’s office is a good agency with a solid foundation and lots of hard-working and quality people. I want to tap and preserve that while bringing a “breath of fresh air” to the organization by enhancing and diversifying the department. Having a forward-thinking, modernized and efficient sheriff’s department that provides the best professional services to all of Orange County will be my greatest priority.