Name: Billy Gooch
Candidate For: Vance County Sheriff
Town of Residence: Henderson
Previous position(s) held: Sergeant of Criminal Investigation Division/K-9 Handler at Vance County Sheriff’s Office
Degrees/Certifications Earned: Basic Law Enforcement Training; Radar Operator Certification; DCI Certification; Police Law Institute Training; Narcotics Investigation; First Line Supervision; Taser Certification; Comprehensive Roadside Criminal Interdiction; Precision and Pursuit Driver Training; Police Law Institute Training for Supervisors; K-9 Instructor; NCAware Certification; CJ Leads Certification and NC Linx Certification
What motivated you to run for Vance County Sheriff?
Not only as a law enforcement officer but also as a citizen of Vance County I was tired of seeing the community I was born and raised in continue to spiral downhill due to violence and drug activity. This is one of the reasons I decided to run for sheriff so I can bring the community back together and help pave a safer future for our youth.
What distinguishes you from other candidates?
I am young, energetic, honest and approachable. I don’t believe in being a paper-pusher or being absent from my duties. I want to be out in the community with my deputies being proactive and visible with a hands-on approach.
I have dedicated 15 and a half years of my life to serving the citizens of Vance County. Even as a supervisor, I have served search warrants, executed drug raids, investigated crime scenes, worked murder investigations and performed K-9 tracks/searches. I will be a working Sheriff.
I know what it will take to make the department run more smoothly and efficiently. Being Sheriff of Vance County is more than just a title to me, it’s about stepping up to be a strong leader for our community, it’s about having more youth involvement as they are our future, and it’s about ensuring that the citizens in our county feel safe.
What do you believe is the single most important skill to possess in order to be a successful sheriff?
In order to be a successful sheriff, you need to have strong leadership skills. Strong leadership will instill in our deputies the eagerness to perform their job in a professional manner and to the best of their ability. It will increase morale in the department which will restore a sense of pride and dignity in our deputies.
A strong leader will also regain trust in the community through effective communication and an open door policy. We need a strong leader that is engaged in the community and keeps the community informed.
If elected, would you keep the Sheriff’s department moving along its current path or change the course?
After being employed with the Vance County Sheriff’s Office for the past 15 years I have noticed some issues within the department’s chain of command. I feel that I could make improvements by moving positions around to help the department run more smoothly and efficiently.
I would also like to bring in more experienced deputies. I have reached out to several past certified employees of the Sheriff’s Office who have expressed interest in coming back to the department to help me reach my goal of filling vacant positions.
The Sheriff’s Department needs to become more involved in the community, especially with our youth. I would like to build better relationships and trust between law enforcement and our citizens by hosting events that would bring the two together.
What do you believe is the biggest concern facing Vance County today and what would you do as Sheriff to address that concern?
I believe the biggest concern facing Vance County today is the opioid epidemic. Other crimes such as theft, burglary, assault, and murder also stem from drug activity. As Sheriff, I would expand our narcotics unit and make sure that the unit is fully staffed with experienced deputies that already have connections with state and federal agencies. A solid connection will allow us to speed up conviction rates of repeat offenders and make sure they are served with harsher sentencing.
I would also bring back the drug interdiction unit in an effort to intercept narcotics being transported through our county via major highways. I would like to introduce a special enforcement unit to concentrate on high crime areas throughout the county. I would also implement drug awareness and prevention programs in our schools. By taking a proactive approach to our drug problem the crime rate in Vance County will gradually decrease.
The photo accompanying this article provided by Billy Gooch.
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