Name: Steve C. Hiatt
Hometown: Mount Airy
Family: Born in Mount Airy, Steve has lived in Surry County all his life. He is son of Billie Nell Hiatt and the late Bob Hiatt. Steve is married to the former Rhonda Snow, daughter of Jerry and Carol Snow of Dobson. Steve and Rhonda have a loving, four-legged companion, a dog named Mollie. Steve also has numerous nieces and nephews that he loves as if they were his very own kids.
Education: Graduated from Mount Airy High School in 1982, then enrolled and graduated Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) in 1984; received Associate Degree in Criminal Justice from Surry Community College in 1984. Steve has continued to receive law enforcement training through annual continuing education classes, which equate to a combined total of more than 3,000 hours over the course of his tenure as a law enforcement officer.
Work activity: Steve Hiatt has spent most of his adult life serving the citizens of Surry County as a deputy sheriff. He began his law enforcement career at the age of 20 and has been a sworn deputy continuously since 1984. He served as a full-time deputy for the Surry County Sheriff’s Office for 28 years and retired as a lieutenant. The past six years, Steve has stayed sworn with the Surry County Sheriff’s Office and served as a reserve deputy and maintained his state mandated annual training. Steve works full time as a security professional at Northern Hospital of Surry County.
Civic/church activity: Steve Hiatt is a member of Mount Bethel Moravian Church; an elected member of the church board and serves as vice chairman; a member of the choir, actively joins Men’s Brotherhood and serves as a Sunday school officer. Steve is a member of Renfro Masonic Lodge 691 AF-AM, secretary and treasurer for Surry County Fraternal Order of Police, and member of the North Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Association; a past member of the Northwest Piedmont Council of Governments. Steve especially takes pride in participating in the Cops & Kids event held each year at Christmas, sponsored by the Surry County Fraternal Order of Police.
1. What changes to staffing would you make if elected, for example the number of deputies on patrol or as SROs vs. in the administration or detective divisions? Do you feel the need to replace existing people filling those roles?
As sheriff, I will look at ways to restructure the Surry County Sheriff’s Office in an effort to help it run more efficiently to serve the citizens of Surry County. I will examine each position within the sheriff’s office to determine precisely which jobs can be consolidated. Once a couple of positions are combined in other divisions, or within my command staff, then the money used to fund those positions can be reallocated to add additional personnel to the patrol and narcotics divisions.
I will choose my command staff carefully for they are the very individuals who will set the tone for the rest of the sheriff’s office. They must be individuals of integrity who are passionate about serving others and have ample law enforcement experience. I would also like to place additional personnel in the detective division and detention center if funding can be obtained. I will seek to obtain additional funding from the Surry County Commissioners as well as state and federal grant funding.
The need for more deputies is definitely a priority! The Surry County Sheriff’s Office needs the ability to place more patrol deputies on each shift to assist with an ever-increasing call volume. Since approximately 2006, patrol squads of the Surry County Sheriff’s Office have had six deputies working each shift. Surry County is made up of approximately 532 square miles, and that’s a lot of ground for just six deputies to cover!
With the increase in illegal drug use within our county, the narcotics division needs to have additional personnel. There are currently six detectives who work trafficking cases as well as street level users, and just like the patrol division they have a large county to work. Only six investigators can hardly place a dent in the illegal drugs use in Surry County.
2. How would you have your officers handle opioid/addiction cases and the use of Narcan to address the epidemic?
Most of you have either seen, or heard about, the opioid epidemic in North Carolina. It has likely affected someone in, or close to, your immediate family. In 2017 alone, Surry County had 55 lives lost due to overdose deaths. This was directly as a result from illegal use of opioids or other controlled substances such as heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine-based drugs, etc. Currently, there are six detectives at the Surry County Sheriff’s Office who work in the narcotics division. They work illegal drugs cases as well as combat the opioid epidemic, but they have a large county to work! Only six investigators can hardly place a dent in the illegal drug use in Surry County.
As sheriff, I will work with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to team up and work to combat illegal drug use in Surry County. I will seek to obtain grant funding to purchase equipment, implement training, and add additional personnel to help fight the war against drugs. I will work very closely with Opioid Response Director Mark Willis to help facilitate funding to fight this war against opioids and fentanyl. I will promote, and be involved in, investigations against users, sellers, dealers, and traffickers of opioids and other illegal controlled substances.
Since most law enforcement agencies within Surry County and the state started using Narcan, medical professional have seen a decrease in overdose deaths. Deputies of the Surry County Sheriff’s Office are currently carrying and administering Narcan when needed. As sheriff, I will continue to have my detectives, deputies, school resource officers, and detention staff carry and administer Narcan when necessary. This program saves lives and is a program that needs to stay in place to help assist with extreme situations involving the illegal use of opioids and this rampant epidemic.
3. Public safety is a key topic. How would you like to see gun control, mental health and open/concealed carry laws adjusted to address the concern and keep people safe?
I fully support the 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution and as sheriff, I will never infringe upon a citizen’s right to bear arms and I will abide by all state and federal laws including open/concealed carry laws. Gun control has become a major part of the political atmosphere, but I am a person who stands by the laws that have been set forth by our governing body and constitution. As a deputy who has taken the oath of office and as sheriff, I will take this solemn promise seriously and hold it to the highest standards. I will stay up to date on all of the changing laws and regulations that are put into place by federal, state, and local governments.
Mental health is something that is controlled more by medical professionals than law enforcement. As sheriff, I would seek to obtain advice from medical professionals and civil groups who work closely with individuals who have mental illnesses. The law enforcement personnel at the Surry County Sheriff’s Office already attend required training on mental health each year to help deputies handle situations involving individuals with mental illnesses. As a sworn deputy and a security professional with Northern Hospital of Surry County, I have worked very closely with those with mental illnesses and have had the advantage of working with a medical facility that helps to treat these individuals.
As sheriff, my main priority will be to protect the lives and property of the citizens of Surry County as well as the visitors who come and visit. I take the position of sheriff seriously and am a person who can be relied on to lead with integrity. I will do my very best to keep the people of our county safe. We must all work together to make Surry County a safer place to live, work and raise our families.
I have dedicated my life to public safety. I have over 33 years of law enforcement experience and the knowledge and passion necessary to be successful. I have earned the reputation of being an individual who is honest, fair, impartial, and, most of all, trustworthy. I have worked in various positions at the sheriff’s office including: patrol deputy, patrol sergeant, civil sergeant, civil lieutenant, detective, and detective lieutenant. My experiences have given me better insight on how to run the sheriff’s office as a whole. I am the only candidate with the ability to say that I have worked in all three of the divisions above and will have the experience necessary to be able to step in, assist, and work alongside of my employees. I feel that the Surry County Sheriff’s Office needs a person who knows the daily operations of the sheriff’s office and can be depended upon night and day. My deep family roots in Surry County and my long career in law enforcement have given me the desire to serve as your sheriff. During this upcoming election, I want your support. Please vote Hiatt for Sheriff!