Let’s look at the numbers for Sheriff Shep Jones and his administration. These stats come from a flyer presented to me as I went to vote and are courtesy of “The Committee To Re-Elect Shep Jones Sheriff.”
According to this flyer, Sheriff Shep Jones is responsibe for and has accomplished: 2170 Felony Arrests, 9137 Misdemeanor Arrests and under the category “Drugs Seized”, his department is responsible for the confiscation of 3,040 Grams of Crack Cocaine, 92.6 Lbs Marijuana, 458 Marijuana Plants, and over 3000 Prescription Pills. They have also responded to over 91,000 calls.
That sounds pretty impressive, doesn’t it? Until you take into consideration that this is over a seven year period. It also doesn’t specify or clarify which arrests and calls were by the City of Laurinburg Police Department, which were answered by the NC Highway Patrol and which were actually by the Sheriff’s Department. Our current Sheriff is great at throwing numbers out there, but isn’t really all that forthcoming with details or specifics. Let’s just assume for the sake of argument that it was just our Sheriff and his department that did all of this by themselves, a very large assumption to be sure, and break down the numbers a bit.
This is over a period of seven years so that would be 2,455 days. So breaking it down with 2170 felony arrests, that would be .88 or not even 1 felony arrest per day. As for misdemeanors, with 9137 arrests, that would be 3.7 per day. For a county with the highest crime rate per captia in the State of North Carolina, that isn’t very impressive especially when you consider that these misdemeanor arrests would include everything from jaywalking to using profanity in public to trespassing. So essentially, we have (at least) four deputies out at any given time, not to mention the Detectives, School Resource Officers, Captains and Department heads, etc, and the best they can do in the county with the highest crime rate in the state is 4 arrests a day? Really?
But at least they’ve put considerable effort into the war on drugs over the years, confiscating a whopping 1.23 grams of crack cocaine per day. Of course, that hasn’t slowed down the large number of crack houses all over Scotland County from operating without hesitation or fear. 458 marijuana plants have been confiscated, but over the course of seven years, that means that they find .186 plants per day. I believe I used to find more than that each night when I worked third shift at a local convenient store and would go sweep the parking lot. As for 3,000 pills over a seven year period, that would equal out to 1.22 pills per day. To say that prescription pills are of epidemic proportion here in Scotland County would be an understatement, but the best our Sheriff’s Department can do is 1 pill a day? Really?
For someone who claims to be “a proven leader” with a goal to “increase the quality of life in Scotland County”, the numbers just don’t add up. And when this lack of results is added to the scandals associated to this administration, such as the police cars appearing out of nowhere and the lack of willingness by our Sheriff to explain or account for them until forced, the recent investigation by the SBI over what the Sheriff referred to as an “Administrative Error” (an unreported slush-fund that was used to buy alcohol, jewelry and fund parties), and the necessary reaffirmation of over twenty Sheriff Deputies just a few days ago when it was discovered that they had not been properly sworn into office. Just another oversight by our current Sheriff?
So much bluster and bravado over the past seven years and what really do they have to show for it. Leadership starts at the top and in our current Sheriff’s administration, the lack of leadership and results is extremely evident and obvious. Shep is quick to take credit when something positive happens, but if something goes wrong, such as the “mystery cars appearing” or the unreported revenue from extorting his deputies, Shep passes the buck and allows someone else to take the blame or claims it’s just administrative errors. He’s the Chief Administrator so he needs to accept and realize that he’s the one who has to accept the responsibilites and the consequences.
The bottom line is this. Shep has had almost eight years to be the Sheriff and lead Scotland County. It hasn’t worked and crime is worse than ever, drugs are more prevalent than ever and more and more crimes are going unsolved. Scotland County has been repeatedly embarassed by his actions and the assorted scandals surrounding our Sheriff’s Department. Enough is enough and it’s time for a change. Shep needs to go and hopefully, in just another week, Scotland County will have the opportunity to start again with a new leader, a new Sheriff and a chance to finally get it right.