WALLBURG — Sheriff Richie Simmons provided an update last week to Wallburg Town Council on the state of his department at the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office.
Simmons thanked council members for their assistance with COVID-19 relief funds that were distributed to Davidson County municipalities. The town allocated some of its federal funding to purchase items the sheriff’s office needs to protect against the spread of the virus.
The sheriff said resources have been allocated specifically for the county jail.
“Probably the hardest part for us is the jail — keeping COVID out of the jail,” Simmons said. “It’s an everyday challenge.”
Two cases have been reported among inmates at the Davidson County Detention Center. Several jailers, Simmons said, have contracted the virus, but only the two inmates have been infected.
“We do that by bringing them in, screening them, and we’re able to quarantine them in their own section of the jail before we put them with the general population,” Simmons said. “With your contribution of masks, gloves and the stuff you all purchased for us, it’s greatly appreciated.”
Simmons indicated that the department is starting to use its office in Wallburg more often. Council designated an area on the backside of the Wallburg Town Hall building for the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office when the structure was erected in 2011.
Staff numbers have decreased, Simmons said, as the department loses members to retirement and attrition. The office did add an 18-year veteran law enforcement officer from Catawba County, the sheriff said, saying he was pleased to have that county’s lead investigator join his staff.
Social unrest and changing public perceptions of law enforcement have made it a challenge, Simmons acknowledged, to recruit. Several deputy positions remain open.
“As you know, it’s a tough time to get young people into law enforcement,” Simmons said. “With all the talk of defunding and all of the things that are going on in the community, it is a tough time. But we’re getting good recruits from all over the state, people wanting to be a part of our department.
“The future of the country, I’m like you, I’m concerned. There’s a lot of things uncertain. … But in town, I think we’re going to be alright. We’ve just got to keep the crazies from doing anything crazy.”
Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at email@example.com.