Surry sheriff candidate profile: Carlos Turner

Published 10:28 am Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Editor’s note: Carlos Turner is running for reelection as Surry County sheriff against R.M. “Rocky” Barbee. The Smithfield Times sent the following questionnaire to both candidates.

Age: 48

Years in law enforcement: 25 years of Law Enforcement experience.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

1. If elected, what will you do to make Surry County safer?

While under my administration as Sheriff my staff and I have worked hard to enhance the safety and security within the county.  We have taken a multifaceted approach to reducing crime and we have been successful in those efforts. Our team continues to foster and strengthen partnerships, trusts, and collaboration, which promote unity and the pursuit of keeping all Surry County citizens safe. We will continue to be proactive in our enforcement, community engagement, and strategic partnerships. I will continue to prioritize our community policing efforts, where our deputies are working with residents to identify and address specific safety concerns in their area of the county.  We have also found that crime prevention is more effective than reaction. We have established and supported various crime prevention programs, including neighborhood groups, youth mentorship programs, and educational initiatives to raise awareness about safety concerns.

2. What more can Surry do to recruit and retain deputies?

We can start with the needed infrastructure in the county, affordable housing, and different food options for deputies who are working 12-hour shifts. Having affordable housing for our deputies, teachers, and public safety workers is essential. That way they can live and invest in the county. Career development supports career pathways for new and veteran recruits, this includes opportunities for leadership roles. Invest in the employee, not the position, enhance professional growth, and collaborate with military installations and veteran services to recruit future deputies.  Money is many times the root factor in our retention efforts. Ensuring deputies receive competitive salaries and benefits is more crucial than ever. In today’s workforce we need to conduct regular salary studies to ensure that our compensation packages are on par with or better than neighboring counties or cities. Competitive pay not only attracts experienced deputies but also motivates them to stay long-term.  

3. How can technology be used to make your office more efficient and accessible to citizens?

Incorporating technology into our sheriff’s office operations has proven to be essential for enhancing efficiency and accessibility for our citizens. We upgraded our digital records management system. This robust system streamlines the storage, retrieval, and sharing of critical information. Deputies now have quick access to essential data, which improves response times to citizens. It also allows staff to send citizens police reports digitally by email.  Deputies with body cameras not only promote transparency but provide valuable evidence in case of incidents. These recordings can be easily retrieved when requested by citizens. Implementing a mobile application so we can enable citizens to receive real-time updates on incidents, road closures, and emergency alerts. Also, it can serve as a platform for submitting anonymous tips, which can aid in our community policing efforts.  By investing in technological advancements, we can provide better service, enhance public safety, and strengthen our relationship with the community.