Tuesday, March 21, 2023

2022 Primary Election: Kelvin Hargrove runs for New Hanover County sheriff

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — Kelvin Hargrove is running for New Hanover County Sheriff. The law enforcement veteran previously served the Wilmington Police Department until September 2021.

Port City Daily has sent a questionnaire to every candidate running in local elections in the tri-county region. The paywall is also dropped on profiles to help voters make informed decisions ahead of casting their ballots.

As a reminder, the early voting period runs from Apr. 28 to May 14. The voter registration deadline is Apr. 22. Voters may partake in same-day registration throughout the two-week early voting period (check if your registration is active at your current address).

Primary Election Day is May 17. Voters will choose which candidates from their registered party they want to move forward in the formal election. Those who are registered as unaffiliated can choose which party’s primary they want to vote in.

Hargrove’s stances on issues are discussed below. All answers are included in full and the candidate’s opinions and statements are not a reflection of Port City Daily. Responses are edited only for grammar, spelling and clarity.

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Port City Daily (PCD): Where can the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office improve in making the county a safe place for all? How would you address the gaps?

Kelvin Hargrove (KH): We need to restore trust in the profession by building strong relationships to unify the community. I have spent my entire career working to do just that. I have a proven track record of doing this through my almost 30 years of experience and dedication.

PCD: There is a perceived uptick in crime in New Hanover County and, specifically, Wilmington. What do you believe is the cause of this perception?

KH: People are more aware of crime than ever before because of the 24-hour news cycle, social media, and technology in general. The more you hear about something, the more aware you are of it. A lot of times when people hear about crime, they are missing important context and are left to fill in the gaps themselves, which contributes to the perception.

PCD: New Hanover County is spending nearly $40 million on a new anti-violence department. What are your thoughts on the action plan?

KH: This is a good start in addressing the violence in our community. Like in other communities where this plan was implemented it had some success and if it has success in our community and stops the violence then it is a good plan but is new and we have to wait and see. A lot of things have been tried and until we find what works for our communities we have to keep trying.

PCD: How should the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office plan for population growth? What is most needed currently?

KH: Population growth is an important issue and will bring a host of challenges, ranging from traffic impacts to higher calls for services. The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office must be appropriately staffed and have strategies in place to be able to respond quickly and effectively. We cannot let population growth hamper our response time or quality.

PCD: Law enforcement agencies are having trouble recruiting and retaining in the current hiring climate. How would you ensure the county is obtaining the best deputies for the area?

KH: First and foremost, we must pay our deputies a competitive wage and have manageable workloads. We see people leaving the profession for other careers, better pay, or work. We can ensure our employees are paid what they are worth. They risking their lives. They deserve to be compensated like it. We can re-distribute workloads so it is more manageable to avoid burnout or costly mistakes.

PCD: What can and should be done to improve relations between law enforcement and historically marginalized populations?

KH: We must not be afraid to go into these communities and actively build relationships. There is a lot of stigma that we need to work through.

PCD: How should we be addressing the opioid crisis? What does and does not work from your point of view?

KH: We cannot arrest our way out of a public health crisis but I can ensure you that as Sheriff I will work with other local, state and federal agencies to bring the manufacturers and traffickers of this poison into our community to justice. I will continue to support and promote the LEAD program that diverts low level offenders to treatment instead of jail.

PCD: Is there an additional issue or issues you think need(s) to be addressed during your term, should you win?

KH: As Sheriff, I will REBUILD what law enforcement means in New Hanover County. It means striving to keep everyone in this County safe. It means making a difference. As Sheriff, I will Restore trust with my experienced leadership, leading the agency back to professionalism and respect from the people of this county, while building strong relationships and unifying communities with inclusivity so no one is excluded and above all remain loyal to the people of New Hanover County and the employees of the Sheriff’s Office as I displayed throughout my law enforcement career with dedication to the profession and the citizens.

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Alexandria Sands
Alexandria Sands
Alexandria Sands is a journalist covering New Hanover County and education. Before Port City Daily, she reported for the award-winning State Port Pilot in Southport. She graduated from UNC Charlotte and wrote for several Charlotte publications while there. When not writing, Williams is most likely in the gym, reading or spending time with her Golden Pyrenees. Reach her at alexandria@localdailymedia.com or on Twitter @alexsands_

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