GOP Sheriff Candidates: Nelson Turrentine

Published 9:12 am Thursday, April 19, 2018

Why did you decide to seek public office?

Turrentine: I can make a difference. Davie County is my home and I want to see the citizens of the county and the employees of the Davie County Sheriff’s Office have a sheriff’s office they can be proud of. I believe there is a disconnect between law enforcement and the citizens of this county. I see the problems that are caused by a lack of understanding and communication between law enforcement and the public. I believe that I can reduce this problem by opening more opportunities for the people and sheriff’s office personnel to interact. Starting a citizens sheriff’s academy and an explorer or youth program, mentored by deputies, will increase the communication between law enforcement and citizens.

What is the number 1 need within the Davie County Sheriff’s Office, and how do you plan to meet that need?

Turrentine: The number one issue in this county, state and country is the opiod drug problem. Not only does the sheriff’s office have to ensure that drug dealers are arrested, the sheriff has to work with other court officials and push for harsher sentences within the court system. Drug dealers operate on a supply and demand system just as any other business. The sheriff’s office has to partner with opiod drug treatment agencies and actively assert their ideas and availability to people that are addicted to drugs. The only way to reduce the supply is by arresting drug dealers and the only way to reduce the demand is by helping those addicted.

The sheriff’s office must give equal service to all the citizens of the county, no matter where you live, income, race, sex, or religion. When you are a victim of a crime it is the most serious and major event in your life. Deputies, although this may be their 10th report of the day, must treat you with respect and understanding. Every incident report will be investigated to the fullest extent and results of the investigation will be given to the victim of the crime. The current zone system used by the Sheriff’s office will be reviewed and changes made if necessary. There are more deputies working during the day than at night. Call volume during the day is higher however, night shift calls are usually more serious and violent. I would shift more patrol personnel to afternoon and night shifts and use administrative, civil and investigations personnel to handle non-emergency calls during the day.

The number one need “within the sheriff’s office” is fairness. I would implement testing for promotions and transfers. Employee pay raises would be based on performance evaluations.

What do you consider the main duties of a sheriff?

Turrentine: The main duty of the sheriff is the safety and security of all the citizens in Davie County.

North Carolina sheriffs are statutorily responsible for; law enforcement, operation of the detention center, court security and service of civil and criminal process. Several other duties are also done by the sheriff’s office; school resource officers, DARE, concealed handgun carry permits, pistol purchase permits and sexual offender registration. The Davie County Sheriff should also provide the services listed above but he also needs to schedule meetings with citizens of the county on a regular basis. The sheriff needs to update citizens of changes to laws, scams, suspicious activity and other information that residents need to know. I believe that open lines of communication between the sheriff’s office and the citizens of this county will not only help the people, but also provide useful information to the sheriff’s office.

Other Issues

Turrentine: I am a native of Davie County and I have lived here most of my life. I am married to Jenny Marion Turrentine, daughter of Dan and Gigi Marion. I know the pride and satisfaction we feel in this county. I started my law enforcement career in the 1980s as a Detention Officer with the Davie County Sheriff’s Office and worked my way up to Detective Sergeant. I learned that every crime, traffic stop or arrest was a major event in that persons life, even if I had dealt with several people that day, I had to be professional, focused and caring for each one of them.  I went to work at Reidsville Police Department, after 10 years at the Sheriff’s Office, as an Undercover Narcotics Detective. I returned home and went to work for the Mocksville Police Department. I gained experience in how to supervise employees and deal with personal and professional issues, that caused employees to make mistakes and bad choices. While at MPD I supervised the investigative and narcotics division, prior to being appointed Assistant Chief. Being Assistant Chief gave me the opportunity to learn budgeting, purchasing and department planning. I retired with 30 years of service on November 1, 2017.

During my career I received over 1000 hours of training. These training hours do not include the mandatory training that all officers are required to complete yearly. I have been trained in first line supervision and command leadership by FBI-leeda and the Gallagher Westfall Group. I received Chief Executive training from the Southern Police Institute. I have additional training and certifications from the DEA, SBI and NC Justice Academy. I have an Advanced Law Enforcement Certification from the State of NC.

The opiod epidemic is affecting families like no other drug addiction in history. It is imperative that all current and future assets available be directed toward stopping it. I as sheriff would spearhead initiatives, not only geared toward arrests and prosecution of all drug dealers, but also toward treatment for people addicted to this terrible drug. I have already met with representatives of nonprofit groups and the court system to begin implementing programs immediately after I take office.

The protection of our children is also an immediate concern. I applaud the school system for adding remote lock doors and increasing the physical security at our school buildings. The Sheriff of Davie County is responsible for the safety of everyone in this county. I, as Sheriff of Davie County, would focus on implementing NCGS 162-26; “The sheriff may establish a volunteer school safety resource officer program to provide nonsalaried special deputies to serve as school safety resource officers in public schools.” Retired law enforcement officers and military police officers can give their time, under authority of the sheriff, to protect our children. It requires the sheriff and school board to have an agreement in place. Rockingham County and Stanly County sheriffs have already started implementing the program.

I will task a group of Deputies to target the areas certain crimes are occurring. Those crimes would include; larcenies, outbuilding break ins, vehicle break ins and drugs. Crime victims deserve fair and courteous treatment. Every crime victim will be given the results of their investigation.

I believe a Citizens Sheriff’s Academy, where citizens are shown and explained the day to day operations of the sheriff’s office, would increase understanding and communications between Deputies and the citizens of this county.

Our children receive positive law enforcement contact in 5th grade when they attend DARE. I would start a program for children in their midteens, whether an explorer post via the Boy Scouts or a program operated exclusively by the sheriff’s office. This program would not only remind them of the values of the DARE program but it would also include classes in driving, ethics and responsibility.

I humbly ask you to vote for me on May 8th. I will lead your Davie County Sheriff’s Office fairly, firmly and professionally.