Surry sheriff candidate profile: R.M. ‘Rocky’ Barbee

Published 10:37 am Wednesday, October 11, 2023

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

Age: 54

Years in law enforcement: Almost Two Decades

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

First we need to focus on the relationship with the agency as a whole and the community to promote trust and transparency. Our deputies will patrol all out lying areas of Surry. Through this, we will interact with all citizens and develop close rapports, which allows our agency to become more proactive and less reactive.

There is a need to develop memorandums of understanding with other surrounding agencies outside the county to help us in our major needs. Also, through this we gain very valuable information on things that can affect Surry County. Again we need to be engaged, not wait for it to happen. We the people deserve a professional agency for our tax dollars.

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

Surry County is a wonderful community to work in. We need to offer a work environment that promotes positivity and growth. We need to offer training and encouragement to grow into the most professional agency that we can. All deputies, dispatchers and agency administration staff need to be invested in. Then these great people can then offer innovation back to our command staff and community leaders. This promotes ownership within, then promotes growth of our agency. I believe a top down and bottom up leadership concept is paramount. Promoting this will allow our deputies and staff to feel valued and have ownership in the growth of our agency.

Again training and structure is paramount!

We must create a home for our staff to feel appreciated. We ask a lot of these people and the Sheriff is only able to serve his or her community through these people.

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

I will investigate new software, allowing deputies easy access to forms and reports by using mobile data terminals while in the field. This will allow the command staff to review any information quickly and make adjustments when needed.

This software allows transparency by allowing us to quickly provide information requested from other agencies and or the community. Staff will be assigned to work with county technology staff to secure grants that will provide for the purchase of innovative tools designed to make Surry County safer.

A Surry Sheriff’s Office webpage will be available and easy to navigate for forms, answers to commonly asked questions, and as links that address citizens’ needs. Through the use of social media, the office will provide real time information that could affect our community. In addition, there will be a mobile text messaging system to provide real time information in the event of an emergency.