INDY Week Candidate Questionnaire
2014 Orange Sheriff
Full Legal Name: Larry Delaney Faucette
Name as it Appears on the Ballot: Larry D. Faucette
Office Sought/District: Orange County Sheriff
Date of Birth: October 7, 1956
Home Address: 5321 Elm Grove Lane, Chapel Hill N.C. 27516
Mailing Address (if different from home):
Campaign Web Site: larryfaucetteforsheriff.com
Occupation & Employer: Retired Orange County Sheriff’s Office/Currently working part-time for the Orange County Sheriff’s office as a School Resource Officer
Years lived in Orange: 57
Home Phone: 919-929-5620
Work Phone: 919-260-9728
How do you rate the current functioning of the Sheriff’s Office under the longtime leadership of Lindy Pendergrass? Identify three things that are good and three things that need improvement.
I believe that Sheriff Lindy Pendergrass has provided outstanding service to the citizens of Orange County for 32 years. There are many good things in the Sheriff’s Office from which to choose, but in my opinion these three stand out as working particularly well:
Our Orange County Investigative Division is widely recognized among law enforcement professionals as being one of the best in the state of North Carolina. :
I feel that services and programs provided to the Orange County community have been excellent under the leadership of Sheriff Lindy Pendergrass. Currently these programs include Seniors and Law Enforcement Together (SALT – where deputies routinely check on older citizens throughout the county during patrol), Community Watch, Gang Resistance Education and Training (GREAT), Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE), Child Identification Programs, and Life Track (clients with brain disorders wear a bracelet or anklet which transmits location in the event that they wander away). I would like to 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 local law enforcement. :
The Orange County school resource officer program was one of the first such programs established in North Carolina (1994) and since that time remains a model program for other counties across the state. This program was envisioned to: (1) ensure student safety and enhance the educational climate in school, and (2) to provide an opportunity for resource officers to build trusting, positive relationships with students. School coverage has expanded over the years so that now resource officers are assigned in every school in the county system. The memorandum of understanding for school resource officers with the Orange County School system is a model for other school systems to follow as well. :
I believe that the following three items are examples of areas which will always need continuous assessment for improvement: :
1) Technology – Because new technology is ever-changing (in fact, so much so that equipment and computers bought today are almost outdated at the time they are purchased), we have to stay abreast of new technology that would enhance safety and efficiency, while being very careful to pursue technology that will give us the highest yield on our investment. For instance, we currently have laptops in all 80 patrol cars, which allow our officers to quickly perform record checks, complete incident reports, etc. Therefore, the cost of any computer upgrade must be multiplied by 80, which quickly becomes a major expenditure.
2) Communication and relationships with our citizens – We must constantly work to build and improve trust throughout the communities we serve. Regardless of whether that community is white, African-American, Hispanic, Asian, etc., we must be vigilant in earning the respect and trust of those who we serve – particularly when working in communities with high at-risk youth populations. Reducing crime and increasing safety requires a multi-pronged strategy of not only identifying and apprehending offenders, but also establishing a positive and supportive presence in our communities.
Continue to build a department that reflects the diversity of our community — I would focus on expanding the diversity of our patrol units in particular, while working on hiring a more diverse staff across the board. I would also continue the work of Sheriff Pendergrass in providing Spanish language training opportunities to our entire staff.
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.
First, I will bring 30+ years of successful Orange County law enforcement experience to the position as Sheriff, including 4 years as a school resource officer. During that time I was honored by being twice awarded “Officer of the Year.” I am also very proud to be the first African-American to earn the rank of Captain in the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Second, I am actively involved in promoting healthy wholesome activities for Orange County youth, and my interest in positively influencing youngsters is evidenced by my 12 years of experience as a high school coach. This experience, along with that as a school resource officer, has reinforced my skills for motivating and relating to young people, and building trusting relationships with them. I cannot let the opportunity pass to point out that as Head Coach of the men’s track team at Cedar Ridge High School (for the last 5 years, I am also extremely proud of my team’s winning the 2A State Championship 2 years in a row (2012 and 2013). I continue to be very actively involved in a number of community activities and efforts including Community Advisory Board Member of the State Employees Credit Union, and an active volunteer with Orange Congregations in Missions, the Ronald McDonald House and Relay for Life.Finally, I have many years of experience motivating and supervising personnel in multiple divisions of law enforcement within the department. I believe that respect must be earned by treating all people fairly and I know the value of hard work. I feel that the above experiences and beliefs make me an ideal candidate to serve as Sheriff of Orange County.
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.
Quoting from my campaign material (attached): I believe “the fundamental duty of the Orange County Office of the Sheriff is to serve and protect its citizens” …and “the Office of the Sheriff is about serving the entire community.” In addition, my motto is “A sheriff for all the people.” My goal is to build and sustain a department which values all people and models accountability, diversity and fairness. As sheriff, I will treat all people equally and fairly. There is much that we can do as we continue to work toward reducing crime and enhancing safety county-wide. Specifically, I will (1) support programs that affect positive behaviors in our youth and help promote good citizenship, (2) take steps to build a more diverse team of law enforcement professionals who reflect the communities we serve, and (3) support programs that foster positive, service oriented interaction between our professionals and our public. My pledge to the people of Orange County is to carry out the duties and responsibilities of the Sheriff’s Office with transparency, professionalism, cooperation, integrity and timeliness.
What do you think about the decriminalization of marijuana?
First, my duty as sheriff will be to uphold the laws of the United States and the state of North Carolina. Having said that, I feel that one consequence of decriminalization would mean that our courts would have the flexibility to keep young people, in particular, from acquiring a permanent criminal record as a result of being caught with marijuana. Currently, youthful offenders charged with possession and usage of marijuana end up with a criminal record that follows them the rest of their lives – subsequent school applications, job applications, etc.I really doubt that there is anyone involved in law enforcement who views smoking marijuana as a crime that deserves jail time.
When you suspect a newly admitted inmate is an undocumented immigrant, do you feel the need to report it to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement?
No. I would continue to follow the procedure that we have in place right now. We perform a records check on everyone arrested and taken to the Orange County jail. This records check notifies us if there is an immigration hold on the inmate. If there is not a hold, there are no further steps taken and no reports to ICE.
Identify a principled stand you have taken or would be willing to take if elected, even if you suspect might cost you popularity with voters.
One example that comes to mind is that I’ve been recently criticized by some for reaching out to our Hispanic community by using brochures and cards printed in both in English and Spanish. I believe in including all people in our community in the conversation about crime prevention and safety, and the important role of the Sheriff’s Office. To be “a Sheriff of all the people” means precisely that and nothing less.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? .
I support and would continue our current policy of using roadblocks and checkpoints for very specific goals; for instance, we use roadblocks when we are experiencing a high volume of criminal activity in a particular area (like break-ins, searching for murder suspects) or if we are searching for missing children or seniors. Regardless of whether it is a roadblock or checkpoint, either activity requires that a plan must be in place that establishes the parameters with very specific goals. For example, the Sheriff’s Office sometimes assists other agencies with DWI checkpoints, and these occasions are governed by a written plan as to which cars will be checked (i.e. checking every 3rd, 4th or 5th car), and the plan is strictly followed and supervised. If cars are stopped on the interstate, then this must be for a traffic violation, or when looking for specific vehicles. Roadblocks and checkpoints should never be used as an opportunity for profiling or to target immigrants.
Identify some areas in the sheriff’s department budget where money could be cut and others where more funding is needed. .
I feel that the Sheriff’s budget is already managed extremely efficiently. It is important to point out that of the approximately $11.6 million budget for the Sheriff’s Department, almost $9 million is spent on personnel services (for example, payroll, holiday pay, overtime, etc.). Certainly these personnel costs should be evaluated for possible economies, but it is more likely that savings can be found in the remaining $2.5 to $3 million of the operating budget. I would assess this part of the budget carefully to make sure that we are getting the most from every penny that we are allocated. For example, can we save further by cutting costs of paper and printing, or using shared printers, or can we join other departments (or perhaps even other law enforcement agencies in the county) in placing large orders which might allow us to achieve lower pricing?
One cost that I strongly feel that we need help with is the transportation of mental patients. Currently, we transport 3-5 patients a day to and from hospital admissions as far away as Butner and Wake County. There is no question that the safety and security of the patients and the public is paramount in this task, however, the associated costs are quite high – we must pay the officer for the time, there is wear and tear on the patrol car, gas must be purchased and deputies are taken away from regular patrol assignments to take care of the transport. I would investigate whether there are any opportunities for cost sharing with other public and/or health agencies.
Finally, I would set aside funds to be used to expand our recruiting efforts to achieve greater diversity among our staff.
Overcapacity in Orange County Jail has persisted in recent years. Is this a problem due to housing federal inmates? Is there a permanent solution? .
The current jail has a capacity of 129 beds and has not been upgraded or expanded since the mid-80s. Generous grants from the US Marshall’s Office contributed over $3 million dollars to the last jail expansion. Via this grant, the US Marshall’s Office reserved 75 beds for federal inmates in transit. The actual number of federal inmates at any one time is approximately 50. The housing of federal inmates in the Orange County jail returns approximately $2.7 million annually to the Orange County general fund. This is a savings of over 2 cents on our property taxes. Unfortunately, some inmates end up in the Orange County jail that would be more appropriately served in a state mental health facility. With a growing population in Orange County, there is a need for a modern, up to date jail facility and the Orange County Commissioners have been discussing this for years. While electronic monitoring devices for minor offenses is a continuing option, a jail facility study group formed back in the 1990s recommended a new jail by 2025 that would be the size of a typical middle school or approximately 125,000 sq. ft.
How do you see the OC Sheriff’s office working with municipal police departments? .
In my years working with the Sheriff’s Department, I collaborated with every law enforcement agency in the county, and with many others including the Mebane PD, Wake County Sheriff’s Department, Henderson PD, and Sanford PD, as well as the State Bureau of Investigation and the US Marshall’s Office. Most of our collaboration involved task force assignments. Our office routinely assists with sporting events at the university and high school level, and other special events like Halloween and Hog Day.Some examples of how we currently work with municipal departments include: Hillsborough PD officers come to our offices every morning for briefings, sharing information with the Durham PD every Wednesday. I support scheduling regular meetings with other command staff members to share information. Strong working relationships with our municipal police departments and surrounding sheriff’s departments are necessary to better serve and protect the Orange County community.
In what ways would you communicate and work with the Board of Commissioners, and other elected officials in Orange County? .
I would continue the tradition of trust that was established by Sheriff Pendergrass over the past 32 years built on honest and forthright budget presentations to the county commissioners and I would continue that relationship. Through the help of federal and commissioner funding, every patrol vehicle has the latest technology available (laptops and cameras). A vehicle replacement schedule has been in the effect for the past 15 years. Revenues from housing federal inmates, averaging approximately $2.7 million are routinely returned to the Orange County general fund each year.
I would also continue our excellent relationship with the Orange County Board of Education — we would continue our participation in monthly safe schools meetings with school resource officers along with school board members and officials.
What are the needs modernize the department in terms of technology? .
We need to take a new look at streamlining our reporting process in order to reduce the flow of paper as much as possible. While significant paper reduction has occurred, there still may be other opportunities for more automation with digital reporting and less reliance on manual coding. We will always need to pursue the most up to date technology that a reasonable budget will allow. Our website needs to be updated not only in terms of content but with a web platform that will allow our staff to keep the most current information posted (for instance, Word Press platforms are fairly intuitive to use).