02/23/14 — Pierce to focus on drugs, school resource officers

View Archive

Pierce to focus on drugs, school resource officers

By John Joyce
Published in News on February 23, 2014 1:50 AM

Full Size


New Wayne County Sheriff Larry Pierce speaks in his office about his plans for the department.

Newly appointed Wayne County Sheriff Larry Pierce has not yet fully settled into his new office.

The walls are bare. A single plant sits beside his desk.

And he is still getting the hang of the inter-departmental telephone system.

He said he has not had the time.

"We got sworn in Friday and hit the ground running," he said.

Pierce actually started two weeks ago, working as a special deputy under Maj. Fane Greenfield's authority until his swearing-in Feb. 14.

Pierce, appointed by the Wayne County Board of Commissioners after receiving the nomination from the Wayne County Republican Party, is to serve the remaining term of the late Sheriff Carey Winders.

He has filed to run for the office he presently holds in the election this fall.

It is something he discussed at length with his family, he said.

"We ran in 1994, and my wife knew exactly what it was going to be to have to run a campaign again," he said.

He said his family supports him 100 percent.

Pierce lost his 1994 bid for sheriff after he was defeated in the primaries by Greenfield. Greenfield in turn was defeated by Winders.

Pierce said he never would have attempted to unseat Winders, but had spoken with the late sheriff about running should he ever decide not to run for reelection.

It has been his dream in life to be sheriff, he said.

Now that he is, it has become real, he said.

"My priority right now is to be sure our office is operating efficiently," he said.

Pierce is very complimentary of the command staff in place in the department.

He said there will be some realignment among the patrol deputies to get a few more men on the road, however, and he is looking at increasing security at the Wayne County Courthouse.

The No. 1 problem Pierce sees facing the county is drugs.

"Drug problems are always at the forefront. If you look, that is the root of just about everything that we deal with whether it is armed robberies, break-ins -- it all stems generally from drug problems. We have to concentrate on that," Pierce said.

School resource officers are another area of focus, he said. It is something he credits back to Winders.

"We have just received a grant to put three new resource officers out there, so that in every school in some time of the day ... we have presence in every school, high school, middle and elementary," he said.

Pierce said there is a crime trend in Wayne County, but no more than is normal for a county this size and no more than anywhere else.

Beyond the many demands of his office, Pierce has to contend with an election. He recently told his campaign manager he will attend every campaign event he possibly can as long as it does not interfere in his ability to maintain the efficiency of his department.

So far, the only opposition candidate to file with the Wayne County Board of Elections to challenge Pierce has been Glenn Barnes, another repeat candidate from 1994.

"Actually, Mr. Barnes and myself are friends. We serve together on the Board of the Wayne County Red Cross," Pierce said.

He said both candidates will state their positions and give their credentials and the public will have to decide.

"I intend on running a clean campaign, I'm sure he will," Pierce said. "I just don't believe in dirty politics."