Sheriff Michael D. Andrews
1. How would you collaborate and/or cooperate with the city in coordinated law
Since 1999 when I assumed the post of Major of the Operations Division, I have fostered
a productive working relationship with local law enforcement. Many of the City’s police
officers that I developed a rapport with early in my career are now leaders in that agency.
As Sheriff, I have worked hard to maintain a strong connection with those leaders and
other members of the Durham Police Department. Specifically, the Sheriff’s Office
regularly shares criminal intelligence, which seeks to prevent crime and protect Durham’s
citizens. Our agency also attends the City’s Crime Reduction Strategy meetings, which
presents the ability to discuss crime and potential solutions with Mayor Bell, leaders of
the Durham Police Department, and other stakeholders in the criminal justice community.
I also regularly attend and participate in Durham’s Crime Cabinet meetings, bringing
together diverse partners to address crime in Durham. Also, the Sheriff’s Office is
exploring a joint initiative with the Durham Police Department aimed at combating
impaired driving among youth through an innovative education initiative. In addition to a
productive relationship with the Durham Police Department, we work closely with other
law enforcement agencies, such as the Duke University Police Department, North
Carolina Central University Police Department, and the State Bureau of Investigation.
Our agency has also devoted resources to a Federal Bureau of Investigation task force.
Further, the Sheriff’s Office participates in the Governor’s Highway Safety Program
campaigns, such as Click it or Ticket and Booze It & Lose It.
2. What role do you think the Sheriff’s Office plays (or should play) in
strengthening school safety?
The Sheriff’s Office plays an active role in advancing school safety. In particular, I have
staffed 14 schools with 17 School Resource Officers. We also have assigned a deputy
who serves as a liaison between Durham Public Schools and law enforcement officers.
This has facilitated substantive and constructive contact with students, teachers, school
administrators, and parents. Additionally, the presence of deputies in the schools offers
heightened safety. Our agency will continue to work with all stakeholders to protect our
students and school personnel. Moreover, my wife has taught in Durham Public Schools
for 30 years. Accordingly, I have a significant understanding of the work and safety
concerns for those dedicated individuals who labor in educational facilities.
3. What role do you think the Sheriff’s Office plays (or should play) in gang
prevention and reduction?
Our substantial presence in local schools offers an unparalleled level of contact with
students and parents. This enables us to identify potential criminal gang activity and
address it quickly. The Sheriff’s Office also provides the Gang Resistance Education and
Training (G.R.E.A.T.) program, a classroom curriculum taught to fourth and sixth grade
students in Durham Public Schools. Utilizing law enforcement officers as instructors, the
G.R.E.A.T. program seeks to prevent delinquency, youth violence, and gang
membership. In addition to our efforts in the schools, I orchestrated the development of a
Sheriff Michael D. Andrews
program aimed at educating young people about the consequences of engaging in
criminal activity. Focusing on youth ages 11-16, the Creating Healthy Opportunities
Inspiring Children to Have Everyday Success (C.H.O.I.C.E.S.) program provides an
interactive tour for youth through the arrest and booking process. The tour culminates
with the Teen Summit, which facilitates open discussions with youth about the issues
they face. With the assistance of Family Academic Mentoring Empowerment
(F.A.M.E.), counselors provide parenting strategies and family mentoring. This initiative
seeks to equip youth with essential skills necessary to support positive choices. Reducing
criminal gang activity requires a community response that involves a diverse array of
partners. Law enforcement is one component of that response. As Sheriff, I remain
committed to contributing resources to this endeavor and joining with other stakeholders
to prevent criminal gang activity.
4. What can be done to prevent proliferation of handguns?
Steps should be taken to ensure that guns stay in the hands of law-abiding citizens. When
that does not happen and gun related crime occurs, enforcement action should be swift
and certain. As Sheriff, our agency has worked closely with other law enforcement
agencies and the District Attorney to effectively enforce and prosecute gun related
5. What is your plan to improve security at Durham’s Court facilities, particularly
in relationship to intimidation of witnesses and lack of respect to Court officers?
The security at the new Durham County Judicial Center is much greater than the previous
facility. Our agency concentrates on providing safety for the visitors and staff who
conduct daily business at the Judicial Center. As Sheriff, I have assigned 33 deputies to
focus solely on courthouse security. In addition to critical courtroom presence, these
deputies monitor areas where defendants and witnesses gather, ensuring that the Durham
County Judicial Center remains an environment where justice is realized in an orderly
and respectful manner. Our deputies also maintain regular contact with other agencies
housed at the Judicial Center in order to stay informed of potential security concerns. In
an effort to enhance safety at the Judicial Center, I directed the creation of the Courthouse
Response Team – a group of deputies with specialized training to effectively respond to
courthouse emergencies. Since the Judicial Center opened in 2013, deputies have seized
6. What is your position with regard to the provision of bail to defendants, in terms
of how Court policies determine the number of prisoners?
When an arrest is necessary, an appropriate bail amount should seek to protect the public
and ensure defendants’ presence at court proceedings. Courts should be mindful of
several factors, such as any prior failures to appear, the severity of the current charges,
any criminal history, and defendants’ ties to the community. Bail amounts should not be
arbitrary or used as punishment. We are also beginning discussions with our judges and
magistrates to consider the issuance of criminal summons in lieu of arrest in appropriate
Sheriff Michael D. Andrews
situations. This process would impose a requirement to appear in court, but would not
necessitate a bail, thereby reducing the financial impact of a criminal charge.
7. What additional resources does the Sheriff’s Office need that it does not
The Sheriff’s Office needs additional resources to protect inmates with mental health
issues at the Durham County Detention Facility. Specifically, I have begun to replace
existing HVAC vents with suicide prevention vents, which reduce an inmate’s ability to
tie a restraining device through vent openings. I am seeking additional funding in the
coming fiscal year to broaden this effort by purchasing additional suicide prevention
Our agency is also in need of items that will enhance safety. In particular, I have
requested funds to outfit additional deputies and detention officers with tasers to enhance
our ability to avoid the use of deadly force. Also, I am seeking funds to acquire more in-
car cameras, which will provide for greater transparency and an additional training
instrument for deputies.
The Sheriff’s Office is also striving to meet the new demands of the Animal Services
Division, which our agency assumed control of in 2012. In 2013, calls for service related
to animals exceeded 11,000, which strained existing resources. Thus, I am attempting to
add deputy and telecommunicator positions to meet this demand.
I am also requesting to recover positions that were lost in the 2008-2009 fiscal year.
These positions would enhance our specialized law enforcement functions, such as
truancy and elder abuse prevention efforts.
Further, I am seeking to expand our Crisis Intervention Team (C.I.T.) program. This
critical effort equips deputies and detention officers with tools to deescalate crisis
situations and provides specialized training related to mental illness.
8. What are the best and worst things about the current administration of the
I am proud to serve as Sheriff with an administration that has been willing to embrace
new initiatives. Specifically, our agency has connected with citizens in innovative ways
by developing a social media presence through Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The
agency has taken substantial steps toward implementing video visitation at the Detention
Facility. We have worked to expand our efforts through the Project Lifesaver program,
which enables deputies to locate and rescue citizens with cognitive disorders who are at
risk of wandering. Our agency has strived to welcome new technology such as
specialized software that analyzes and visualizes crime trends, allowing deputies to make
optimal use of enforcement resources. The Sheriff’s Office has also sought to remain
connected with Durham’s citizens through outreach efforts, such as the C.H.O.I.C.E.S.
program and National Night Out events. While the Sheriff’s Office has made significant
Sheriff Michael D. Andrews
advancements, I continually endeavor to maintain a progressive posture and respond to
the ever-changing environment of law enforcement and detention services.
9. What is your position on the Affordable Care Act and how it will affect North
Carolina health care consumers and the medical care system?
Everyone should have access to affordable health care.
10. What are your views on the rights (including whether any such rights exist) of
homosexual persons to marry? Did you vote for or against Amendment One?
In my capacity as Sheriff, employment decisions, investigative efforts, and enforcement
actions are conducted without regard to sexual orientation. As a public servant, I respect
the rights of all individuals and strive to protect every citizen and visitor of Durham.
11. Are you conservative or liberal? Please choose one and then explain your
I characterize myself as a moderate. I strive to critically evaluate issues and reach a
conclusion based on facts. This allows me to consider diverse perspectives, objectively
assess situations, and make thoughtful decisions.
12. Please describe how your religious and philosophical beliefs may affect your
conduct and decision making if you are elected.
My beliefs are greatly centered around the way I was raised with three sisters. My mom
and dad had a small farm on Wake Forest Highway where I grew up. We moved there
when I was around nine years old. We learned how to raise a garden, work in the garden,
and have food for the winter.
My father loved animals. We had horses, cows, and Shetland ponies. We nurtured, fed
and yes, located these pets when they would someway find their way out of a fenced area.
Locating or finding an animal and then getting it back to an enclosed pasture was a chore
in itself, but the job did not get done unless you did it. Our parents worked hard to
provide for us and sometimes worked overtime or multiple jobs. We understood and
experienced responsibility. We understood going to church and showing and displaying
care and compassion for others. Both our mom and dad exemplified this.
My father owned and operated a small café in East Durham for 35 years and I helped do
many things, from washing dishes to waiting tables and preparing food. My father was a
conversational person and loved speaking with everyone he encountered. We all had
many conversations with great people who visited Andrews Kountry Kitchen. I learned
the value of helping those that did not have anything and to go the extra mile. I also
learned that there are not any free things in life, but it did not cost a nickel to be good to
Sheriff Michael D. Andrews
My parents taught responsibility, hard work, and compassion. I attempt daily in honor of
my parents to show compassion for someone. There are many things I am blessed with
but I will never forget where and how I was raised.
13. Where were you born and where have you lived?
I was born in Durham and have lived here my entire life. I have “lived” at the Sheriff’s
Office since I was 20 years old and I will be 56 this year.
14. Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offense other than a minor traffic
offense (such as speeding)? If the answer is yes, please describe the
circumstances and the outcome.
15. Who did you vote for in the 2008 and 2012 presidential and gubernatorial
I have supported Republican and Democratic candidates. I consider candidates’ strengths
and weaknesses and strive to support the person best suited to serve the public with
fairness, integrity, and honor. As Sheriff, I am not a partisan individual when it comes to
making decisions that I feel are correct for this community. I have the opportunity to
meet and speak with many officials on my concerns for Durham. I reach across the aisles
to many who represent all political groups.
Michael D. Andrews
Sheriff Mike Andrews has 34 years of experience with the Durham County
Sheriff’s Office. He has served in Investigations, Training, and the Patrol
Division. Additional duties during his tenure with Sheriff’s Office include
the Emergency Response Team and the Search and Recovery Team. He has
served as a General Instructor and Specialized Instructor for the agency and
new recruits in Basic Law Enforcement Training.
Sheriff Andrews has received leadership and supervision training through
the Law Enforcement Executive Program offered by North Carolina State
University and the Institute of Government. He is also a graduate of Carolina
Command College, hosted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Sheriff
Andrews is a graduate (March 2002) of the 208th
session FBI National
Academy in Quantico, Virginia. In addition, Sheriff Andrews has an
Advanced Law Enforcement Certificate from the State of North Carolina.
As Sheriff, he is currently responsible for administration of agency-wide