BY DARREN CAMPBELL
One of my primary directives to the deputies, detention officers, and staff members of the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office is to be citizen-focused and responsive to all citizens of Iredell County.
In North Carolina, local authorities police their respective jurisdictions, while sheriff’s office personnel typically patrol the unincorporated part of the county. Where the need arises to assist the community, the sheriff has a duty to all citizens in the county, no matter their location.
In 2017, I received calls and notes from the community and religious leaders in and around South Statesville, asking the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office to help with the violence and criminal activity in the area. I tasked my senior staff to formulate a plan to help with these requests for assistance. During this operation, we arrested numerous criminals with outstanding warrants for arrest, seized multiple types and amounts of illegal drugs and weapons, and made numerous arrests for other crimes. While these enforcement actions were essential to the operation, the non-law enforcement activities played a significant role. Citizen interactions are crucial in forming and maintaining relationships in a civilized society. We developed relationships that helped solve crimes during that mission, and to this day, those relationships still help solve crimes in the community.
As we all know, our community suffered a devastating loss recently when the nefarious and senseless acts of a few caused the death of one child and seriously injured others on June 28. Community leaders and clergy members from the area reached out again, asking for our assistance. We formulated our plan and responded to the area. The Iredell County Sheriff’s Office had an evident presence in the various neighborhoods in the South Statesville community beginning the Fourth of July.
We conducted hundreds of vehicle stops during this operation, arrested 21 subjects with outstanding warrants for arrest, conducted 123 community foot patrols, made 53 arrests for various criminal charges, and seized numerous weapons and illegal drugs. Like in 2017, we used non-enforcement activities to interact with the community, documenting over 1,000 public interactions during the almost two-week operation. These non-enforcement interactions included information checks, security checks, invitations to eat and fellowship, and introducing citizens to the members and deputies of the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office. We did all this while not diminishing our ability to patrol all of the other areas of Iredell County. Deputies postponed vacations, rearranged schedules on short notice, and canceled appointments to conduct this operation. Overall, the deputies realized the importance of making an impact in the community during the volatile time.
As a law enforcement officer, I understand that it is easier to make a long-lasting difference by meeting people where they live and showing them we are just people who happen to wear a uniform and enforce the law for a living. It is incredible what a difference we can make when we take time to listen to each other. By doing this, the community learns they can rely on us to listen to their concerns, take action where we can legally, and help improve the community one day at a time.
If you have any additional questions about these operations or any other questions about the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office, please call me at 704-878-3180 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Darren Campbell is the sheriff of Iredell County.