Andrews to file for sheriff
Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews said Friday he'll file next month for a full term in the office, and hopes to build on initiatives he started in the past two years.
Andrews is completing the term of former Sheriff Worth Hill, who retired in 2012 after almost 50 years in law enforcement.
A Durham native, Andrews, 55, has risen through the ranks since joining the Sheriff's Office in 1979. He was chief deputy before Hill tapped him as his successor.
Andrews pointed to several efforts he hopes to continue and expand if he wins election.
"We'll continue to be aware of the importance of providing mental health services to those in jail and inmates with other health issues," he said.
He said the office will continue to have a presence on social media, including Facebook and Twitter, to keep citizens informed and provide a way for them to communicate with deputies.
"So far, 3,500 people have joined our Facebook page, and that helps us to get information out to the community," he said.
His office also created an online mapping site that lets citizens keep track of where crime is happening in the county.
Andrews said he'll continue installing cameras in patrol cars and provide the cars with brush guards that prevent damage when the vehicles hit deer, which often happens in the rural areas of Durham.
Another goal is to start a video-visitation system in the jail that would let an inmate visit via a computer in the cell with friends and family in the jail lobby, saving detention officers' time.
He also recently started a program to help at-risk youths whose parents are having trouble with them. The youngsters, ages 11 to 16, visit the jail on Saturdays "and see what it's like to be incarcerated, so we can turn them around, keep them out of jail, in school and on the right track."
Andrews said moving his office to the new courthouse for a February 2013 opening was a challenge, but one that his employees handled "very well."
"I'm proud of what the people in this office have accomplished, and it's been a great opportunity for me," Andrews said.
This would be Andrews' first bid for elective office. He said he'll file as a Democrat Feb. 10 when the filing period begins.
No one else has publicly announced plans to challenge Andrews. If another Democrat files, a primary will be held in May. The general election is Nov. 4.