GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- It's not the results Sheriff BJ Barnes wanted. The seat he's held for 24 years in Guilford County will now be taken over by someone else. Danny Rogers beat out Sheriff Barnes by about 10,000 votes on Election Night.
"What’s going through my mind right now is my concern for my folks," Sheriff Barnes explains in an interview the day after the election. "Not only the folks that work here but the folks within the county. We’ve had a very successful run as Sheriff, 24 years, no problems, no issues, 65-percent reduction in crime. I’m a little bit concerned about the security of my folks going into this particular thing. I’m not concerned for myself, again, I’ve been blessed. I’ve got my retirement time in. I’ve been offered federal jobs, I’ve been offered state jobs, I’ve turned them all down. To me this was a perfect job. It still is."
But Sheriff Barnes says this won't be the last Guilford County sees of him.
"Shoot, I may run for Mayor of Summerfield, maybe. That’s my town that I’m from and they’ve got a problem with the mayor out there so who knows? I don’t know what I’ll do."
He says he's recently been spending time writing. He's finished one book and is close to finishing another. We asked if we might see him again on the Guilford County Sheriff's Office ballot for 2022.
"You never say never. I enjoy public service. I’ve been involved in public service all my adult life."
He's the longest serving Sheriff in Guilford County. He also served as Deputy Sheriff before winning his first election in 1994. We asked if he could have done anything different with this election.
"No. Not a thing. I’m a Republican in a Democratic county. Guilford County is a Democrat county, there’s no doubt about that."
He says he hopes for the best for Rogers, who will likely take over in December.
"I’m hopeful that he’s going to show some good sense and utilize the folks who are here. They’re excellent. There are 660+ of the best men and women in law enforcement and my hopes are he uses their talents. If he does that then he can keep this Sheriffs office on track."
Sheriff Barnes says he'll finish out his last few weeks in office working on projects that have been ongoing like cold cases and the re-entry program. He says he hired eight new people Wednesday.
"Life goes on. We keep continuing to do our job. I’m a professional and we ran a professional organization and we’re going to stay that way."
One thing he wishes he could have accomplished is a regional crime lab in Greensboro. He wanted to build one during his next term to help test rape kits and reduce the backlog.
"Quite frankly I think that will probably go to the wayside now. I hate that because we sorely need it here."
But he says he still has accomplished a lot in 24 years.
"I’m going out with my head held high. I have nothing to be ashamed of. I just talked to the former Sheriff, the Sheriff that I beat as a matter of fact, on the phone this morning and he said he wasn’t real happy about the turnout of the election. But one thing he said about it is 'BJ, you were the best Sheriff this county has ever had.'"
We asked whether or not he thinks Danny Rogers would make a good Sheriff.
"No, I don’t. But I wish him luck. But to be honest with you I don’t."
We also talked to Danny Rogers the day after the election. He says he doesn't want people to be fearful.
"Let them understand that we thank them for their service and thank them for the jobs they're doing. We don't want anybody nervous or afraid of the new administration coming in," Rogers says.
Rogers is expected to be sworn in to office the first week of December 2018.