In movies about the Wild West, people always say, “This town isn’t big enough for the two of us.”
However, when it comes to the Guilford County sheriff’s race, some Republican candidates, if they win, would be happy to share the limelight of being sheriff with a former occupant of that office.
Former Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes, a Republican, held the position for nearly a quarter century before losing the 2018 election to current Sheriff Danny Rogers, a Democrat. Barnes didn’t throw his hat in the ring for the 2022 sheriff’s race. However, depending on the election outcome, county residents could see a return to the department from the longtime Republican sheriff who in the next four years, has published thrillers and served as mayor of Summerfield.
Ed Melvin, a Republican candidate for sheriff in the current election, said this week he spoke with Barnes and said he told Barnes that if elected he would like the former Sheriff helps put the department back on solid footing.
“I told him I would like him to play a role in fixing things,” Melvin said.
Melvin added that Barnes had said he would be willing to do so.
When Rogers took office, he fired about two dozen Barnes deputies and changed many aspects of department management.
Melvin, who was Roger’s chief deputy, objected to Roger’s mass dismissals – which Melvin called “completely unjustified”. He also opposed many other moves made by Rogers.
Melvin and Rogers constantly butted heads until the firing of a high-performing female prison officer — a firing that Melvin said was particularly appalling, cruel, and unfair.
Barnes acknowledged that Melvin had asked him to play a role in fixing the department and Barnes added that three other sheriff candidates on the Republican ticket had done the same: they had indicated they would like Barnes back on board in a some measure to help get the sheriff’s department back on track.
Barnes said candidates Phil Byrd, Randy Powers and Billy Queen also asked for his help if elected.
Barnes said he had a very high opinion of those four and would be willing to help any of them if they won.
Asked about an endorsement, Barnes said he wouldn’t make an endorsement in the sheriff’s race until after the May 17 primary ruling.
Barnes said crime is up in the county and officer morale is down in the department after Rogers’ three-and-a-half-year rule, and the former sheriff added that he thinks his long experience could assist in the smooth running of the department.