Name as it Appears on the Ballot: David Caldwell, Jr.

Legal name, if different: David Louis Caldwell, Jr.

Party: Democrat

Date of Birth: 05/26/53

Campaign Web Site:

Occupation & Employer: Retired

Home Phone: 919-967-4442

Years lived in Orange County: 61


1. How do you rate the current functioning of the Sheriff’s Office under the longtime leadership of Lindy Pendergrass? Indentify three things that are good and three things that need improvement.

The Sheriff’s Department is doing well. 1) Drug interdiction has improved greatly over the years. We have seen positive results in both drugs and drug money being taken off the streets. 2) RATT – the Rural Area Traffic Team – has also done a great job with traffic enforcement on our highways and drug interdiction. 3) The Investigations Division has a much better relationship with the DA’s office, resulting in more convictions.

Improvements to bring: I would: 1) enhance communication by informing the public regarding legal policy and procedures involving nonemergency situations, and help community members better know how to get help when needed; 2) more aggressively recruit minorities to reflect and work with the diverse nature of our communities; and 3) develop a more active reserve unit to compensate for any shortages in coverage due to calls to action in other areas, officers being off-duty, etc.

2. What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be effective on the issues you’ve identified? Please be as specific as possible in relating past accomplishments to current goals.

I have a breadth of experience in community work and problem solving from years working with environmental justice issues and community organizing through RENA CEER. I have traveled the east coast working with diverse groups — lecturing and helping community organizations coalesce and work on important local issues.

3. The INDY’s mission is to help build a just community in the triangle. Please point to a specific position in your platform that would, if achieved, help further that goal.

It is a strong goal of mine to recruit more diverse members of the community to the force — Black, White, Hispanic, Asian and other minority populations, to reflect and assist the diverse communities that exist within Orange County. Training should address this diversity. It is not enough to talk about “leveling the playing field” when you can’t communicate. Officers have to be more accessible, get out, connect with, and learn about other people, cultures and their needs to be able to serve them well.

4. What do you think about the Decriminalization of Marijuana?

I don’t think it should be decriminalized, but more efforts should be placed on stopping high-level distributors and traffickers, not just low-level street dealers.

5. When you suspect a newly admitted inmate is an undocumented immigrant, do you feel the need to report it to the U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement?

The Department must ascertain whether any new inmate, regardless of their race or legal status, has committed any other more serious crime elsewhere and be dealt with accordingly. That’s just routine procedure. That doesn’t single anyone out for undue investigation.

6. Identify a principle stand you have taken or would be willing to take if elected, even if you suspect might cost you popularity with voters.

My experience shows me there is a strong link between environmental injustice, one’s social situation, and criminal justice. Lack of education, low income, health – these are all parts of a larger cycle that may lead to situational crimes, and crime leads back to a degrading social situation. When a community is infringed upon through environmental degradation, health suffers, jobs suffer, and the cycle goes on. All parts of the cycle need to be attended to. The department needs to be trained in recognizing and responding to this cycle.

7. Roadblocks and checkpoints can be used as a way to racially profile drivers and passengers. What policies should be in place in regards to roadblocks and checkpoints? Under what circumstances should they be used?

Roadblocks can be used productively to get control of a specific problem, for example, in an area with a high incidence of break-ins, or speeders and unlicensed drivers reported by community members, or assistance in attaining information to solve a particular crime. They should not and will not be used as a way to profile races.

8. Identify some areas in the Sheriff’s Department budget where money could be cut and others where more funding is needed.

We can save money with proper vehicle maintenance and fuel consumption. Using two-man vehicles during peak call time will cut down on the number of vehicles responding to calls. By adding reserve officers at these times as back up, we will cut down on miles, fuel and wear-and-tear on the vehicles, which adds up quickly.

Additional training, personnel and equipment can always be an improvement. If a department lacks in any of these areas, they will not be as productive. A department with the best equipment without the best training will never reach its full potential.

9. Overcapacity in Orange County Jail has persisted in recent years. Is this a problem due to housing Federal inmates? Is there a permanent solution?

Overcrowding is not a problem. The 2+ million dollars we get from housing federal inmates goes to the general fund and the County needs it. No one is being released due to the housing of federal inmates. On the rare times there is overcrowding, it is due to facility size. It seems to be a common problem that proposed plans for large facilities — whether jails, schools, hospitals or libraries — seldom meet the actual resulting demands by the time they are completed.

10. How do you see the OC Sheriff’s Office Working with municipal Police Departments?

The relationship between local departments is good. I would like to see better communication regarding incidents in neighboring jurisdictions to get a quicker response time. It’s a matter of new dispatch procedures, and additional group departmental incident training.

11. In what ways would you communicate and work with the Board of Commissioners, and other elected officials in Orange County.

The County Sheriff’s Department can be more transparent about what we have and need in terms of equipment or specialized training, and why additional resources or training is necessary. Any and all issues that the Board of Commissioners can assist with should be taken before them. We can not only inform the Board about problems and needs, but also show them so that our needs are understood.

12. What are the needs modernize the department in terms of technology?

As we saw with the LAX shooter, it doesn’t matter how fancy equipment is if its not linked to communicate. All agencies need to be on the right channels or frequencies to have full access to each other’s jurisdictions, as crimes often cross boundaries or can better be served by working together. Even with the equipment we have, critical time spent getting information out will always either be your friend or your enemy depending on how efficiently the equipment is used.