Surry sheriff running for reelection against familiar foe

Published 5:26 pm Monday, July 17, 2023

By Akilah Frye

Staff writer

Carlos L. Turner is running for reelection against R.M. “Rocky” Barbee, the same opponent he defeated in 2019. 

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Turner has served in law enforcement for 25 years and as sheriff for the past 7½ years.

“I am thrilled to announce my reelection to continue serving the good people of Surry County as their sheriff,” he said. “The ability to lead the professional men and women who work tirelessly to protect Surry has and will continue to be an honor and blessing to me.”

Turner was last reelected in 2019, getting nearly 70% of the vote against Barbee.

The majority of his term was hit with challenges brought on by COVID-19, but “we didn’t let that keep us from serving the community,” Turner said.

“We were out delivering food, providing PPE (personal protective equipment) and keeping Surry County safe,” he said. Citizens’ “continued prayers and support throughout our journey to move the sheriff’s office forward has many times reaffirmed my belief that it’s still the right time for me to be leading our sheriff’s office.”

The incumbent said there “is still work to be done.”

“We’re all about partnering with others and coming up with proactive initiatives that tackle Surry County’s issues head-on,” he said. “But let’s make no mistake: We’re still hard on crime. We strike a balance by being firm, while also focusing on prevention and community involvement.” 

Barbee is a lifelong resident of Surry County who’s served the county in emergency services for four decades. Along the way, he’s “developed an understanding of the county’s diverse needs,” he said.

Barbee’s positions have included deputy sheriff, firefighter, emergency medical services and county radiological officer.

Stability and retention will be Barbee’s primary goal if elected sheriff.

“I plan to recruit deputies and staff for the Sheriff’s Office and provide the necessary training to ensure they are well prepared to serve our residents,” he said.

Retention of new hires, as well as current staff, is paramount, Barbee said, adding that “this will be done through proactive management skill sets and policies.”

“I am looking forward to meeting with all citizens in the coming weeks and months to listen to and gain a better understanding of their opinions and concerns,” he said.