10/17/06 — Wayne County sheriff's race - Carey Winders

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Wayne County sheriff's race - Carey Winders

By Lee Williams
Published in News on October 17, 2006 1:46 PM

Wayne County Sheriff Carey A. Winders is a realist.

He knows there's drugs and gang activity in the county, but he also has the proof and crime stats to show he's tackling these problems head on.

This is the message the 49-year-old Wayne County native is taking to voters as he fights to retain his job for a fourth term. Winders will face-off against Ken Edwards, a retired Goldsboro Police officer. Early voting begins Thursday, and the election will be Nov. 7.

Winders decided to run for re-election after receiving support from family, friends, employees and voters. But, most of all, Winders chose to run because he loves serving the people.

"I love my job," he said. "I love serving the citizens of this county and being able to make a difference."

Crime, including domestic violence, drugs, juvenile crime, identity theft and crimes that target seniors and businesses, are the biggest issues. Winders said his staff is trained, and he is working to curb the problems.

Winders also has the Goldsboro-Wayne County Drug Squad to help clean up the drugs in the county.

Since 2003, the drug squad seized $65,585,320 in drugs, made 662 felony drug cases, made 14,195 drug arrests, received an estimated $90,000 per year through drug seizure money and is using 14 vehicles seized or bought with drug seizure funds. Felony crimes are down 16.6 percent.

Winders started the Community Oriented Prevention Education program to deter crime in schools and set up crime watches.

"Law enforcement and schools can't do it alone," he said. "It takes a community effort, and especially parents, to help us with issues dealing with our youths."

Winders also is placing talking computers in patrol cars that will allow deputies to do photo lineups, look up warrants and run license plate numbers. This will increase officer visibility on the roads, he said.

Winders said jail overcrowding is another issue, which directly relates to the number of arrests made.

"We're currently looking at plans on how to alleviate the overcrowding whether it be through additional courts, working with the DA's office, and maybe in the future expanding it," Winders said.

The jail capacity is 200, but there are currently about 240 people in the jail.

Winders said funding affects all issues previously mentioned. Salary levels make it tough to retain staff or hire more deputies to combat crime, but Winders said he's working to overcome this hurdle, too.

"We are addressing it through having a working relationship with the county manager and the county commissioners, and they've been good to me," he said. "I have enough of an open mind to understand that they are tasked with a lot of requests. So, I try to streamline, we use asset and drug seizure money, grant funding and any other available resources we can to curtail the use of tax dollars because we know they are limited."