Kenworthy: Time for a change

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Having been a resident of Robeson County my entire life, my career in corrections began in 1982 as a correctional officer with the North Carolina Department of Corrections. I earned my degree in Criminal Justice from Pembroke State University, currently UNCP, and an Advance Criminal Justice Certification through the North Carolina Criminal Justice Standards Commission. During my 30-year career with the department, I rose through the ranks to become the first correctional administrator at Tabor Correctional Institution, Tabor City, North Carolina, which at that time was one of the largest institutions in the state. As the administrator, I managed approximately 480 employees and an inmate population of 1,500, in addition to the safety of employees, inmates and the community. During my career, I served on numerous committees and attended various training sessions in criminal justice and corrections.

After retiring in 2011, I became the jail administrator for the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office. The training and management experience gained in my career in corrections has been beneficial while serving as the jail administrator. If elected as the sheriff of Robeson County, I will utilize my training and management experience to serve my staff and the citizens of Robeson County. I believe the greatest resource that any leader has is their staff. I believe staff must be provided the necessary training and equipment in order to be effective in performing their duties. I believe strongly in organization, professionalism and staff accountability. To ensure this, I will have accountability processes in the daily operations. Below are just two of the ways I will achieve this:

— As sheriff, one requirement for deputies assigned to day shift will be to make at least five community contacts. The deputy will stop and talk with five random citizens in their patrol area. During each stop, the deputy will have the citizen sign a contact sheet that will be submitted to me. I believe that citizens should see us other than when they have become a victim. Visibility is and will be a valuable tool to deter crime. Also, detectives assigned to a case will be required to make contact with the victim and maintain contact until the investigation is complete.

I will establish a Sheriff’s Community Relations Committee. This committee will consist of 12 members (citizens) selected from communities throughout our county. Each member will serve a 12-month term. At the end of the term, a new group of citizens will be selected. The purpose of this committee will be to share information about their community in order to strengthen the relationship and trust between citizens and the Sheriff’s Office. In a monthly or bi-monthly meeting, I will meet with these members to discuss and address concerns from their communities. These committee members will assist me in scheduling meetings in their communities. This will allow me to hear concerns directly from the citizens. One of the greatest resources I believe that I will have to help reduce crime in our communities are the citizens we serve. No one knows a community and its needs better than the residents who live there. It is absolutely necessary for the Sheriff’s Office and the community to work together.

I believe the job of sheriff in addition to the enforcement of laws requires both efficient personnel and fiscal management. As the sheriff, I will be responsible for managing approximately 300 employees and a multi-million dollar budget. As the sheriff and a taxpayer, I will work diligently to be a good steward of taxpayer’s dollars.

No one person or agency alone can change the direction of our county. It is going to take prayer, collective leadership from law enforcement, the board of commissioners, the school board, communities, churches, the District Attorney’s Office and judges all working together in a unified manner to bring about change and make a difference in our county. All of these relationships are essential to bringing about real change in our county. As the sheriff, I will work humbly and respectively with each person and agency to establish relationships that are in the best interest of serving our citizens.

If elected as sheriff of Robeson County, I have a desire to serve our citizens not myself.

I make two promises — I will be a sheriff to all citizens and serve them to the best of my ability without respect of person.

My wife, Annette Kenworthy, and I reside in the Prospect Community and attend Green Pine Freewill Baptist Church. God Bless our County and the sheriff’s election.

Real change will come from doing something different — not by doing what you have always done.

Make a Difference, Make a Change.

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George Kenworthy is a Democratic candidate for sheriff.

George Kenworthy is a Democratic candidate for sheriff.