Danny Rogers sworn in as new Guilford SheriffBy Yasmine Regester / December 7, 2018
With his left hand on a Bible and his right hand in the air, Danny Rogers was sworn in as the new Guilford County Sheriff in a ceremony at the High Point Courthouse on December 3.
Family, friends, Sheriff’s office employees, judges and community members packed the courtroom to witness history as Rogers was administered the oath of office by retired N.C. Supreme Court Justice, The Honorable Justice Henry E. Frye. Rogers is the county’s first African American sheriff.
“Today is the day we officially begin a new chapter,” said District 1 Guilford County Commissioner, Carlvena Foster. “It’s a day that for all people should be bigger than our differences, right or wrong, or historical context. Today, history is being made because the people of Guilford County elected Danny Rogers.”
Rogers unseated former Sheriff BJ Barnes in the Nov. 6 general election, winning 53 percent of the vote in his second attempt to unseat Barnes, who had served as sheriff for 24 years. In a press conference following the swearing in, Rogers thanked Barnes for his long career with the Sheriff’s Office.“I truly acknowledge Barnes’ service to our county as sheriff and to our country as a Marine. I pray he has continued success going forward,” said Rogers.
The oath of office was also given to Rogers’ executive staff members, Chief Deputy Edward Melvin and Colonel Steven Parr; as well as non-executive staff member, Catherine D. Netter. His entire staff of more than 650 sworn and non-sworn staff will be administered the Employee Code of Conduct oath, a new change implemented by Rogers.
“For the first time in history, we’re making sure the sworn and not-sworn officers come together as one team. Detention officers will also be taking an oath of office for the work they do,” said Rogers.
Running on a campaign of bringing change to the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office, Rogers has already made adjustments to personnel, firing close to 30 people before he took the oath of office, 14 of which Rogers’ explained were part-time and/or previously retired employees. He said he and his team will continue to evaluate the Sheriff’s office to put personnel in the right places within the organization to ensure a smooth transition in the coming months. He also touted promoting within before seeking outside applicants.
While Rogers is the first African American to be elected to Guilford County Sheriff, he made sure to note that that historic fact would not impact his decision making.
“I’m not a sheriff that’s focusing on the fact of bringing just people of color. We want to make sure that the Sheriff’s office understands and the citizens of Guilford County understand that we want to bring in the qualified personnel,” he said. “Our Sheriff’s office will be a representation of all the citizens of Guilford County.”
A native of High Point, Rogers previously worked as an officer in the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department and High Point Police Department. Before being elected Sheriff, Rogers ran a local landscaping and janitorial business, and a food-truck style operation. A Southwest Guilford High School graduate, Rogers holds degrees in criminal justice, criminal justice leadership and executive management, and theology from Walden University, Team Works Bible College and ECPI.
“I feel blessed to stand here in High Point, where I grew up, and be sworn in as Guilford County Sheriff,” said Rogers, adding that becoming the sheriff was a dream he’s had for more than 20 years.
Chief District Court Judge H. Thomas Jarrell Jr., addressed the crowd after the swearing-in saying, “I’ve known Danny Rogers for over 40 years and I know he loves people. He will be a wonderful role model for the citizens of Guilford County.”
Rogers said one of his main priorities as Sheriff will be working on building trust and relationships between citizens and law enforcement officers, noting he would like to put a Sheriff’s office in High Point, as well. Rogers also said he is sticking to his campaign promises to seek state accreditation for the department, reduce crime, provide safer streets and neighborhoods, eliminate the flow of illegal drugs and guns entering communities, address the opioid crisis, improve officer retention and update offender reentry programs.
“I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel. The wheel is already there, I’m just making sure it’s turning how it’s supposed to,” said Rogers.
In his new role, Rogers is also tasked with deciding what to do with the old Guilford County jail. Rogers said that after looking at a preliminary cost analysis, he is in favor of tearing down the old jail — rather than rehabbing it, to build a newer facility for law enforcement offices.
When asked about the biggest change coming to the Sheriff’s department, Rogers said, “I think you’ve seen it already. Danny Rogers elected as Sheriff.”