Clarence F. Birkhead
People’s Alliance PAC 2014 Questionnaire
Durham County Sheriff
[revised edition with new question 7]
Candidate’s name __Clarence F. Birkhead
Residences address __4 Bobby Parker Pl. Durham, NC 27703
Cell-phone Number _919-423-6179_ e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. How you would collaborate and/or cooperate with the city in coordinated law enforcement?
I would collaborate and cooperate with the city in coordinated law enforcement by establishing a
comprehensive approach to offering services to the community by collaborating with area law
enforcement agencies such as the Durham Police Department.
I have a history of working with neighboring agencies extending back to my time as chief for
Duke University. During my tenure I worked with then Durham Police Chief Steve Chalmers to
address citizens' concerns around Duke's east campus. Through our collaborative relationship,
we were able to develop a plan that extended jurisdiction of Duke police officers to the streets
and in neighborhoods immediately contiguous to Duke.
As sheriff, I would work alongside Durham City officials to foster a spirit of One Community - One
Durham – a philosophy representing my belief in building alliances across jurisdictional
boundaries to serve all citizens of Durham County.
2. What role do you think the Sheriff's Department plays (or should play) in strengthening school
I think the Sheriff’s Department plays a pivotal role in strengthening school safety. It is my
understanding the sheriff's department currently has a contract with Durham Public Schools to
provide School Resource Officers (SRO).
I view the SRO program as one that is critical not only to school safety, but also to providing
opportunities for positive interaction, reinforcement of safety and role modeling for our youth. As
sheriff, I would build upon the existing program by working with school officials and parents to
identify additional ways we can further reduce negative behaviors and decrease suspension
3. What role do you think the Sheriff's Department plays (or should play) in gang prevention and
The sheriff is the highest ranking law enforcement official in the county, therefore, he, and
members of the department, should be intimately involved in addressing gang prevention and
I would use systems like "Gang Net" to identify and track known gang members and the
methods used to conduct their criminal enterprise. Employing such a system would help lead to
greater intelligence gathering and more targeted enforcement thereby effecting gang activity in
4. What can be done to prevent proliferation of handguns?
To prevent the proliferation of handguns, the State of North Carolina must enact tougher gun
laws designed to slow the proliferation of handguns in our state. As Sheriff, it is my sworn duty to
support and enforce the laws of the land.
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?
I am unaware of incidents of witness intimidation. However, as Sheriff my staff and I will take the
necessary steps to investigate any such offenses that erupt and protect those who are
threatened or intimidated.
To improve security at Durham’s Court facilities, I would include the development of an All
Hazards Plan for responding to security issues in cases of witness intimidation and incidents that
potentially pose a significant disruption to normal operations.
The plan would include training for court officers in accordance with industry standards as
established by the National Sheriff's Association (NSA).
Training would also extend to all court officials (judges, attorneys, clerks, etc.) so that everyone
is prepared in the case of an incident. It is incumbent on all who work and conduct business in
these facilities to take an active part in ensuring the safe and secure operations of our courts.
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?
My position with regard to the provision of bail to defendants and the number of prisoners is that
the sheriff has the responsibility to manage the established capacity of the Detention Center. All
defendants are entitled to have a bond set and given the option for pre-trial release, unless the
nature of the offense necessitates otherwise. As Sheriff, I would work with magistrates, judges
and attorneys, as well as detention center staff to ensure prisoners are not housed in an over-
7. What additional resources does the Department need that it does not currently have?[this
was a revised answer provided after the interview]
Though I have limited knowledge of the current resources available to the Department, I reviewed
the 2012-13 budget and find the following items are not provided but needed:
Body Cameras are becoming an industry standard and would:
*Enhance officer safety
*Provide video and audio documentation of each officer encounter
*Offer a basis for accountability for negative interactions
Inmate Video Visitation Systems are valuable tools that:
*Increase the safety of visitors, staff and inmates
*Establish real-time video interactions and improve efficiency
*Reduce incidents of contraband smuggling into the Detention Center
Crime Lab - Re-visiting the possibility of housing a crime lab in Durham would:
*Reduce turn-around time for processing evidence
*Extend a cost-saving opportunity with private partnerships
*Presents a potential revenue stream from other jurisdictions
8. What are the best and worst things about the current administration of the Sheriff’s Department?
The best part of the current administration is their ability to inspire the dedicated men and
women who come to work day in and day out to serve the citizens of Durham County, despite
being compensated less than deputies in neighboring areas.
The worst thing about the current administration is its lack of service to areas that typically fall
within the city limits. Additionally, the current administration offers little collaboration with public
or private partners to address matters of public safety.
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?
My position on the Affordable Care Act is that all persons should have access to affordable
healthcare. Too many young people, seniors and minorities lack access to adequate healthcare
because of cost. The ACA will offer North Carolina residents options for coverage at a
manageable rate for the type of plan selected. Durham County needs this and our country needs
The program is still in its infancy and there is little relevant data to form an opinion of how it will
impact the medical care system at this time.
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?
My views on the rights of homosexual persons to marry are that I believe all persons have a right
to love whomever they chose and should be allowed to certify that union with marriage.
My wife (Kathy Pitman) and I have always been a welcoming and affirming family. Kathy started
a group in Watts Street Baptist Church to host social outings for our LGBT members. And, as far
as I know, I was one of the first sitting chiefs of police to speak at a NC Pride event when I was
the chief at Duke
11. Are you conservative or liberal? Please choose one and then explain your answer.
My views and the way I live my life represent the philosophies of a liberal.
12. Please describe how your religious and philosophical beliefs may affect your conduct and decision
making if you are elected.
I base my decisions on my years of experience and training as a police executive. My religious
and philosophical beliefs do not impact my professional life. However, they do keep me
grounded as a person and establishes balance in my day to day living.
13. Where were you born and where have you lived?
I was born in Asheboro, Randolph County, NC. I have resided in Durham and Hillsborough North
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.
No, I have not been convicted of a criminal offense other than a minor traffic offense.
15. Who did you vote for in the 2008 and 2012 presidential and gubernatorial elections?
I voted for President Obama in both the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. I voted for Beverly
Perdue in 2008 and Pat McCrory in the 2012 gubernatorial election.
Clarence F. Birkhead
4 Bobby Parker Place
Durham, NC 27703
Safety and Security Consultant / Police Executive 2012-now
Associate Vice President, Safety and Security
Queens University, Charlotte, North Carolina 2010-2012
Chief of Police
Hillsborough Police Department, Hillsborough, North Carolina 2005-2010
Director of University Police and Security Operations [Chief of Police]
Duke University Police Department, Durham, North Carolina 1998-2005
Masters of Science Degree in Organizational Management, Pfeiffer University
Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice Shaw University
Associate Degree in Applied Science/Law Enforcement Technology, Guilford Technical Community College
Title IX Training Workshop, Womble/Carlyle, LLP
North Carolina Central University, Adjunct Professor
Certified Verbal Judo Instructor, Verbal Judo Institute
Balanced Scorecard, Town of Hillsborough
National Incident Management System (NIMS)
Emergency Management Institute – FEMA
Critical Incident Management Training, International Association of Chiefs of Police
Criminal Investigator Certificate, North Carolina Criminal Investigator's Academy
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS/MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS
International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE)
North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police (NCACP)
International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators
North Carolina Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators
Served as President of North Carolina Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.
Named Campaign Leader of the Year for Triangle United Way – Town of Hillsborough.
Served as assessor on N.C. Governor’s Institute on Alcohol and Substance Abuse Inc.
Awarded Advanced Law Enforcement Certificate
Served as featured presenter at the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.
Provided consultative services in organization design, operations issues at universities throughout the US.
Represented NC Law Enforcement Association on Board of Advisors for Responsible Alcohol Sale and Service.
Appointed to the Board of Advisors for the Administrative Officers Management Program. (NCSU)