Full Legal Name: Roy Garvin Taylor
Name as it Appears on the Ballot: Roy Taylor
Office Sought/District: Sheriff
Date of Birth: June 7, 1962
Home Address: 2222 Glover St. Durham, NC 27703
Mailing Address (if different from home): P.O. Box 14422 Durham, NC 27709
Campaign Web Site: electroytaylor.org
Occupation & Employer: State Antiterrorism/Force Protection Manager VA National Guard & Chief of Police Capitol Special Police
Years lived in Durham County: 9
Home Phone: (919) 697-1995
Work Phone: (919) 620-0008
1. How do you rate the current functioning of the Sheriff’s Department? What’s good? What’s not so good and needs improvement? If elected, what are your priorities?
In my opinion the current Sheriff’s Office is adequate, but it is not providing the level of service or customer service that it could.
The best thing about the Durham County Sheriff’s Office is it is staffed with professional well meaning men and women. The majority intend to do their jobs to the best of their ability.
The situation which needs to be improved upon immediately is the lack of supervision and accountability for money, drugs and other seized property. Currently, there is a lack of oversight which leads me to believe more dangerous items such as guns may also be missing. I intend on having an outside agency conduct an audit of these items immediately upon taking office.
The case involving Kim Perkins is only one of several examples which indicate a lack of supervision and accountability by the Sheriff and his command staff to properly supervise and monitor the activities of their employees. Even after the Perkins case revealed over $300,000.00 dollars was missing the Sheriff did not implement appropriate accounting methods, which contributed to another employee being able to embezzle approximately $65,000.00 dollars.
In the last four years, a deputy was arrested and charged with several major criminal acts that arose out of his co-ownership of a night club on Roxboro Road in Braggtown. An investigation revealed complaints of prostitution, illegal drug use and sales, and murder for hire. One deputy was arrested, convicted, sentenced to federal prison and two dismissed from the department as a result of the investigation. The deputy who was the co-owner of the club had a Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Capitan supervising him. None of them had any concern with the deputy owning and working the club before the investigation started, even though there are written departmental regulations which require deputies to fill out a form and seek approval for off-duty employment. No supervisor was held accountable for any of these actions by the deputies involved. Another similar incident was just announced on March 9, 2010 in which a Sheriff’s Department Supervisor was selling counterfeit merchandise from his store. The investigation is currently under investigation and no charges have been filed as of this writing.
2. What is your opinion on public access to officers’ disciplinary records? What types of records should be open?
I believe any information which legally can be made public should be available to anyone interested in it mainly because the Sheriff and his staff serve the public who have a right to know that the people they have entrusted with power are honorable and trustworthy. However, there are personnel laws which all employers must abide by and I would have to adhere to them, but I would not hide behind them either.
3. If elected, how will you address Durham’s continued problems with gangs?
I would start with implementing education programs such as the GREAT (Gang Resistance Education and Training) program as well as others to educate children and provide alternatives to gang membership. In regards to reduction there are several effective strategies to implement. The first being in the county jail. Gang members will not be permitted to socialize or congregate while incarcerated. They will not be permitted to wear their clothing or other items in such a manner as to indicate they are a member of a gang. During their incarceration they will be interviewed by gang investigators to solicit intelligence as well as be photographed to document tattoos and other markings. I will work with faith based and other interested groups in providing counseling and other community based resources to these gang members in hopes of giving options other than being in a criminal street gang. In addition the information obtained will be shared with the judicial system and requests made to have as a condition of their sentence they not be allowed to continue participation in the gang or socialize with other gang members. Violating this condition will result in the remainder of their sentence being activated.
In addition the Sheriff’s Department will be an active participant in any task forces or intelligence associations with a focus on gangs.
4. In some jurisdictions, local law enforcement are being called upon to research and detain anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant. What is your opinion about the role of local law enforcement in enforcing U.S. immigration law?
I believe the immigration laws need to be enforced and when individuals are encountered through the normal course of law enforcement interactions and discovered to be in violation of these laws they need to be detained for the proper agency. With current funding shortages and limited jail space I would not make a special effort to enforce federal law by apprehending illegal immigrants for that sole purpose unless the department was being subsidized by the Federal Government to do it and include the cost of housing them in our jail.
5. 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?
DWI Checkpoints are regulated by State law on how they are to be conducted and planned. The plan must then be approved by the District Attorney along with the dates, time and location. Therefore, all DWI checkpoints will be conducted as prescribed by law. The type of checkpoint which could be abused is a “Driver’s License Checking Station” they are authorized by law but have very little guidance. My policy will be that a plan must be developed and approved by the Patrol Division Commander to specifically include a defined criteria for stopping vehicles, ie: every 5th car or every other car, etc. This is usually dictated by the amount of traffic in the particular area with the goal of not creating an unnecessary inconvenience to the motoring public. But, the Deputies will be required to adhere to the approved plan. If they are found to deviate from it they will be subject to disciplinary actions. I will not tolerate any manner of racial profiling within the department.
6. Durham’s jail population consistently exceeds its capacity. What is causing consistent overcrowding and how do you plan to reduce the number of inmates? What is your timeline for any reductions?
Failure To Appear (FTA) warrants can really bog a jail down temporarily. I will meet with the Chief District Court Judge and Chief Magistrate prior to taking office to see how intake procedures and agency requirements are currently set up and suggest that 1st FTA arrestees receive a Written Promise to Appear or Unsecured bond. I will also suggest the courts have a 2nd role call to assist in limiting FTA’s. A final suggestion will be to implement a pretrial release program. This program is similar to intensive probation with education and regular drug testing tied to the program, plus a requirement to finish high school.
Child support offenders also contribute to overcrowding. I will work with Child Support Enforcement to contact the violator’s family and have them gather as much money as possible to pay on the debit in hopes of getting a reduction. An example of a typical situation is a defendant is arrested on a delinquent support order. He owes $1,500 and goes to jail at a cost of approximately $55.00 a day. He goes in front of the judge 20 days later and receives a new payment of $125. The County has just spent $1,100.00 to incarcerate this individual. His children have not received any more money and he may have lost his job which will only perpetuate his not paying. I propose working with Child Support Enforcement and Domestic Court Judges to specifically plan the service of warrants on delinquent parents just prior to dates set aside for this specific type of hearing. This will allow everyone to prepare for the surge of work and reduce the time most offenders spend in the County’s jail.
I believe the type of crime, propensity to commit the same offense once released, criminal history and flight risk are the primary indicators on whether bail should be attainable for the defendant. If more jail space is needed then any cells rented to the Federal government or other agency should be terminated and used to house our prisoners.
Court policies determining the number of prisoners may be necessary to prevent overcrowding and if so the most minor of offenders should be diverted from jail. An example would be a drunk driver who could be released to a sober adult, as could other non-violent offenders such as those who commit fraud, embezzlement, etc. Again, I will work closely with the Chief District Court Judge, District Attorney and Chief Magistrate to use our existing resources wisely.
7. If elected, do you anticipate making changes to better serve the Hispanic and Latino communities?
I plan on meeting with the leaders of these communities to learn more about any unique needs they have. It is important to have existing relationships to build trust and earn the confidence of these citizens. I will encourage more of my staff to learn Spanish and have bilingual documents available to assist non-English speaking residents.
8. The Durham County Sheriff’s Office reported that it recently fired an employee accused of pocketing money that was supposed to be used for confidential informants. In 2006, three deputies were accused of running a drug ring and possible human trafficking operation out of a Durham establishment. If elected, how will you ensure the right people are working for you and your employees are not involved in illegal activities?
I intend to require all current employees to sign an authorization to conduct a criminal background check prior to their being reappointed after I am sworn in. I will have automated criminal records, driver’s history and credit checks ran to determine their suitability for continued employment. Those employees who are discovered to have prior criminal histories or other derogatory information in their background will be subjected to a more detailed investigation. Anyone found to have an undocumented conviction or other derogatory information will not be reappointed.
The Sheriff’s Department has in the past been nationally accredited. This required a very comprehensive policy and procedure manual to be in place. My goal is to insure each employee knows the rules and follows them. Those who do not will be disciplined according to the guideline in that manual. My belief is if they cannot abide by internal policies and procedures I cannot trust them to enforce criminal laws and I have a concern with their integrity.