Tony Butler | Candidate Questionnaires | Indy Week

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Tony Butler

Durham County Sheriff


Legal Name: Anthony Roderick Butler

Name on ballot: Tony Butler

Office sought: Sheriff

DOB: 3/21/60

Home address: 5238 N. Willowhaven Drive

Durham, North Carolina 27712

Occupation: Pastor, Faith Temple Church, Asheboro, NC;

Certified Nursing Assistant and Instructor, Butner Institutions, Butner, NC

Years in Durham County: 21 years

Home: 919-383-9025


1. How do you rate the current functioning of the Sheriff's Department? What's good? What's not so good and needs improvement? If elected, what are your priorities?

In any department there will always be room for improvement, however, one major accomplishment for the Sheriff's Department is the fact that they became an accredited law enforcement agency. This gives the department more professional competence and a more defined purpose to accomplish its goals and missions.

I really cannot speak on anything that I would consider being the worse thing of the current administration. I commend my opponent for all the effort he has made in keeping the citizens of Durham County safe, but I have a vision to take the Sheriff's Department into the future, enhancing programs that have already been established and developing new programs for areas that might need improvement.

I would like to create a Citizens Advisory Board to bring forth ideas from the community and share information with the Sheriff's Department and the City in an effort to address all crime and work toward viable solutions.

I would like to form a Deputy I and a Deputy II, with both having power of arrest.

I would like to turn the jail into a learning center. Punishment for crime is one thing, but we must also rehabilitate offenders through education and vocational skills. My goal is to make the offender a productive citizen, and ultimately reduce the recidivism rate and aide in reducing the jail population.

2. What is your opinion on public access to officers' disciplinary records? What types of records should be open?

An officers' disciplinary record are confidential under the Human Resource and confidentiality policies and they will not be open to the public. The records that should be open to the public are the officers' accomplishments, awards, community service and heroism awards.

3. If elected, how will you address Durham's continued problems with gangs?

The Sheriff's Department has always played a major role in addressing gang prevention and reduction. We must be involved in educating our children and giving them the skills to avoid gang involvement and activity. We must also focus on and instill positive influences into our youth. Our children must be made to value themselves and their communities and they will grow up and have a desire to give back to those communities. The Sheriff's Department will strive to aide in the positive development of our children. Even if we have a youthful offender, our goal should be to rehabilitate him so that he will not become a career criminal. Even if they are incarcerated, every effort should be made to change his way of thinking and make him a productive citizen. This should also reduce the recidivism rate. The Great Program is excellent and plays a vital role in gang prevention by reaching out to youth through education.

4. In some jurisdictions, local law enforcement are being called upon to research and detain anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant. What is your opinion about the role of law enforcement in enforcing U. S. immigration law?

It is a must that we are fully trained in cultural diversity and policies to ensure that all citizens, regardless of race or ethnic backgrounds, receive equal protection from the department, and other law enforcement agencies, based upon the fourth amendment.

5. Roadblocks and check points can be used as a way to racially profile drivers and passengers. What policies should be in place in regards to roadblocks and checkpoints? Under what circumstances should they be used?

Roadblocks or checkpoints must always use a systematic search or approach. These stops are not aimed at a particular group of people or persons, but rather follow a systematic method as to who is stopped. The key is that every vehicle must be stopped and not just randomly search a select few of vehicles. Roadblocks are proactive enforcement to deter crimes in different areas.

6. Durham's jail population consistently exceeds its capacity. What is causing consistent crowding and how do you plan to reduce the number of inmates? What is your timeline for any reductions?

When there is a large unemployment rate, economic decline, or socio-economic disadvantages, there will always a sharp increase in criminal activity. The courts decide who will be incarcerated, but once an individual is in the detention center, our goal should be to rehabilitate them and make them productive citizens to be released back into the community. The way to do this is through education, vocational skills and training.

7. If elected, do you anticipate making changes to better serve the Hispanic and Latino communities?

Sensitivity training will be included in the employee training package. We will be fully trained in cultural diversity to protect all citizens of Durham County. We will hire qualified Hispanic and latino officers, who are American citizens to help us be more effective social agents. Communication and understanding will allow us to respect every culture and its diversity, attitudes and beliefs.

8. The Durham County Sheriff's Office reported that it recently fired an employee accused of pocketing money that was supposed to be used for confidential informants. In 2006, three deputies were accused of running a drug ring and possible human trafficking our of a Durham establishment. If elected, how will you ensure the right people are working for you and your employees are not involved in illegal activities?

Policies and Procedures must be implemented that clearly specify the guidelines and expectations of the Sheriff's Department regarding all off-duty employment, second jobs, or business ventures. This cannot be based on the employee's judgment but on precise guidelines.

The employee must be trained on the guidelines and procedures and must sign that they understand the policies, agree with them and understand the consequences of non-compliance.

All off duty work must be reviewed and approved of by the Sheriff prior to that employment, to assure that it is not questionable and that it would not compromise the integrity of the Sheriff's Department or the community.

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