Name: Jimmy Combs
Family: Mother: Imogene Combs of Yadkinville; Daughter: Katelyn Jenkins of Hamptonville; Daughter: Kristie Combs of San Diego, California; 2 granddaughters
Education: Associates in Applied Science/Criminal Justice/Surry Community College
Work activity: 32-plus years of continuous Law Enforcement experience; Held every rank at the Sheriff’s Office; Chief Deputy for 2 prior Sheriffs; Sheriff since April 2017; Member of North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association; Member of North Carolina Law Enforcement Planners Association; Member of North Carolina Internal Affairs Investigators Association
Civic/church activity: Baptist preacher out of Oak Ridge Baptist Church; Adult Sunday School Teacher; Taught the teenage class for Bible School for the last 7 years
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?
In July of this year, I added three Patrol Officers bringing the number to seven on each shift, working toward the goal of reaching ten per shift as funding allows. Currently there are SROs in each of our high schools and middle schools. The Administrative Staff has not increased during my time as Sheriff, nor has the size of the Detective Division. However, as always it is important to remember that increasing personnel means increasing the budget with recurring cost. My objective is to provide quality Law Enforcement within the approved budget.
As far as the second part of this question, I am proud of the men and women who make up the Surry County Sheriff’s Office. They work long, hard hours every day to protect the lives and property of the people of Surry County. These men and women are professionals, and the idea of replacing anyone for political purposes is irresponsible and it is wrong.
2. How would you have your officers handle opioid/addiction cases and the use of Narcan to address the epidemic?
Each of our officers is equipped with Narcan every time they hit the streets. Because of this, nine lives have been saved by officers administering it to overdose victims.
As to how opioid addiction cases should be handled, the answer is a three prong approach:
First is prevention which is the easiest and most cost effective way to attack this problem. It costs less to teach and inform people, especially young people, not to ever start abusing drugs. An example of this is our D.A.R.E. programs. In May of 2017, I started working with the Surry County School Board to expand D.A.R.E. to the middle schools. The purpose of D.A.R.E. is to educate our children with tools and knowledge to stop drug abuse before it ever starts.
Second, we should attack the addiction issue through treatment. We should remove the stigma that is associated with treatment/rehab and allow those who take the courageous step to seek help and complete treatment to reenter society and once again become a productive member of the community.
And the third prong is aggressive enforcement and prosecution of those who choose to sell and distribute drugs in our county. Over the last year and a half I have restructured the Narcotics Division and focused their efforts on arresting the very worst in our society… the drug dealers. Our Patrol Division is working on known drug areas, and the entire Sheriff’s Office is working together to concentrate on the issue. This has led to record arrests and seizures and it will continue to be a main focus as long as I am Sheriff.
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 am a Military Veteran and I have been in Law Enforcement for over 32 years. I support the 2nd Amendment and the right of good citizens to choose to carry a firearm. In fact, when I took my oath of office as Sheriff, I swore to uphold the constitution which includes the 2nd Amendment.
I believe the current carry laws are sufficient.
The only people I oppose having the ability to carry a firearm are the following: Convicted felons, those with serious mental illness and illegal aliens.
Mental health is a serious issue. There is a severe lack of resources to provide screening and treatment for those who suffer with mental illness. I firmly believe that if more resources were available for early intervention and treatment, many of the tragic incidents we have seen around the country could have been avoided.
As your Sheriff I have worked hard every day to provide you, the citizens of Surry County, with the professional Law Enforcement you deserve. My focus is to find ways to make your Sheriff’s Office better, while operating within the existing budget.
I have restructured the Narcotics Division; this has led to record arrests and seizures.
I have increased the number of deputies on patrol and expanded the D.A.R.E. Program to all our middle schools.
As a father and grandfather, I know that nothing is more important than the security of our
children. That is why we have SROs in each of our high schools and middle schools and officers regularly check each elementary school. Each year we conduct unannounced lockdown drills at each school to insure our students and school staff are prepared to respond to an emergency.
Our Church Security program has been expanded to provide training and resources to local congregations so they can worship in safe and secure environments.
I have more than 32 years of continuous Law Enforcement experience serving in all ranks of the Sheriff’s Office.
Now I ask you to allow me to continue this service with your vote on November 6th.