Tony White—Orange County Sheriff | Candidate Questionnaires - Orange County | Indy Week

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Tony White—Orange County Sheriff



Name as it appears on the ballot: Tony White
Campaign website:
Phone number: 919-880-8680
Years lived in Orange County: 46

1. In your view, what are the three most pressing issues facing the Orange County Sheriff’s Office? If elected, what will you do to address these issues?

Issue one: The turnover rate at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office is increasing. Orange County deputies are seeking employment with surrounding agencies. This reduces coverage and service to the citizens of Orange County who we are to protect and serve. Issue two: Ensuring tax payers’ money is spent wisely and effectively. Instead of purchasing tools or equipment solely for the sheriff office, establish a mutual aid agreement with other agencies to help pay for the tools or equipment. Issue three: Provide fair treatment and service to Orange County employees, citizens, and visitors. Don’t get involved with personal agendas or be influenced by who you are or where you live.

2. What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be an effective county sheriff? This might include career or community service; be specific about its relevance to this office.

I’ve been a volunteer fire fighter with the Orange Rural Fire Department for 28 years. In the 19 years with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, I became highly involved with the community. As a patrol deputy, I would stop in and visit citizen to make sure their needs were met, and at times I would stop in just to talk with them. Also, as a patrol deputy I made sure every citizen I encountered needs and expectations were met. Furthermore, as a School Resource Officer, I was able to interact with our youth. I built a strong trust relationship with the students. As a School Resource Officer, I learned what students expected from law enforcement, and how to interact with students of different backgrounds. During my 9.5 years in the Criminal Investigations Division, I was able to assist the citizens and build a closer relationship with them. Knowing how citizens feel when they are victimized makes me feel like a victim also. I go beyond my duties to solve all cases. When a offender is arrested, property is recovered and cases are solved, I know that I’m providing the best possible service to the citizens of Orange County.

3. If you are challenging an incumbent, what decisions has the incumbent made that you most disagree with? If you are an incumbent, what in your record and experience do you believe entitles you to another term?

Not spending taxpayers’ money properly. Over the past three years there has been abundance of questions reference to money spent by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. I would ensure the money is spent effectively and economically. A major goal is to help keep Orange County tax rate as low as possible.

4. Several local governments across the country have ended or altered their cash-bail systems, arguing that people who have not been convicted of a crime should not be held because they cannot afford bail. What changes to the cash bail system, if any, do you support? Why? If you don't support any changes, please explain why you think the current system is successful.

The only time I will support the cash bail system, is for repeat offenders. Meaning if someone is arrested, then released, and re-offends before trial on the first offense then I support given an offender a cash bond. The cash-bail system mainly affects people of economically disadvantaged communities.

5. One intended purpose of the cash bail system is to ensure potentially dangerous people aren't free to commit new crimes while awaiting trial. Do you think the county would be less safe with non-monetary pretrial-release conditions only?

No. As long as provision are set in place. Example: Pretrial release must have the defendant report in frequently, defendant undergo drug/alcohol testing. Drugs and alcohol are implicated in an estimated 80 percent of offenders leading to incarceration.

6. Multiple courts have ruled that ICE detainer requests do not meet Fourth Amendment requirements for arrest. Currently, Orange County does not honor detainer requests “unless continued custody is supported by probable cause to believe that a criminal violation of federal immigration law has occurred”—for example, by a judicial or outstanding warrant. Do you support this policy? Under what circumstances should the Sheriff's Office honor detainer requests? Please explain your answer.

The only time I would honor an ICE detainer is when an arrestee is arrested on a serious felony. Example: rape, murder, assaults with a weapon and kidnapping. I would not notify ICE reference to someone’s immigration status. I would not honor an administrative warrant issued by ICE. Administrative warrants are issued by ICE not a judge which is not a valid warrant. ICE detainers would violate Constitutional Rights if held solely on the detainer.

7. Under North Carolina law, body-camera footage is not public record. Under what circumstances do you believe the public should be allowed to review body camera footage?

With exceptions, I think body camera footage should be public record. First, it should be viewed by the Chief/Sheriff, District Attorney, and Superior Court Judge, to verify no one seen in the video or heard in the video would be placed in jeopardy. On the other hand, North Carolina has a law in place stating regardless to the release or not, a court order is required to release body-camera footage.

8. Similarly, police officers’ and sheriff’s deputies’ personnel files, including disciplinary records, are not public documents in North Carolina. Given that law enforcement in some cases literally has the power of life and death, do you believe it is appropriate for members of the public to know whether a law enforcement agent has been disciplined and why?

Yes, I believe disciplinary actions should be public record. It ensures law enforcement misconduct is not overlooked. If a law enforcement officer has numerous complaints that are factual, a member of the public wants to be sure that disciplinary action has taken place. Unfortunately, North Carolina has a General Statue making law enforcement disciplinary records confidential.

9. Do you support the expanded use of citations as an alternative to arrests? Under what circumstances?

Yes, I support the use of citations as an alternative to arrest. Simple charges like Simple Possession of marijuana, Misdemeanor Larceny, and so on should be issued a citation. By issuing citations, it would reduce officer downtime. Transporting someone to the magistrates’ office and sitting there until all paper work is completed takes time. This would also prevent people from going to jail that don’t need to be there. Similar to the situation with the Cash-Bail System.

10. What policies would you support to reduce recidivism, particularly among youthful offenders?

Policies I would support to reduce recidivism among youth offenders would be installing a deterrence program. Maybe walking youth offenders through the county jail or local prison, and let the youth see how it is to be placed in that type of atmosphere. Talk with the youth about consequences and their future. Also implement counseling. This could be done by the School Resource Officer.

11. Identify and explain one principled stand you would be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some points with voters. Not supporting ICE. Not honoring an administrative warrant or detainer issued by ICE.

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