Kelly White comes to the Alamance County sheriff race with over 20 years of experience serving in law enforcement. White said he is running because it’s time for change in the county, including the role of sheriff.
“Just time for a new administration to work to unify the law enforcement community to increase transparency in the public, and the public trust in Alamance County,” White said.
White plans on bringing Alamance County together and building back trust in the community through law enforcement. He said his plans are to meet people where they are at and understand what community members are looking for in a new sheriff.
“There's so much that has happened across the nation that has caused people to distance themselves from law enforcement, and also in supporting law enforcement as well,” White said. “Here in Alamance County, there've been a few incidents that drove a wedge between community members and law enforcement. … In order to move Alamance County forward, we have to have the community’s support.”
White also plans on strengthening Alamance County’s Stepping Up Initiative, a mission organized to help reduce the amount of people with mental illnesses in the criminal justice system. This program provides services and support for people with mental illnesses and decreases arrests for small offenses.
White said he recognizes the mental health issues on college campuses, and he hopes to improve the relationship between law enforcement and students through mental health support. He said he plans on doing this through having trust talks, which he said includes sitting down with students and setting expectations for their expectations of law enforcement.
“The key is communicating with the community, with the Elon University students, their concerns, and how we can modify what we were doing to make it apply to what needs to work, or how we can modify what we're currently doing and make it better,” White said.
White currently serves as Winston-Salem University’s deputy chief of police and said his experience in law enforcement has shaped his values. He said focusing on his own experience has been his strategy throughout his campaign and that his experience in different law enforcement and management positions throughout his career has helped to prepare him for this role.
“As the deputy chief of police, my core values of treating people fair, honest and equal regardless of their race, ethnicity or beliefs prepares me to serve in this position as the people's sheriff,” White said.
White said he plans on bridging gaps within Alamance County between people who have different preconceptions of law enforcement by working with local law enforcement agencies and hearing from residents to understand what they are looking for.
“I call my office the people’s office,” White said. “Not so much the sheriff’s office.”