As Sheriff of Robeson County, Burnis seeks to improve the working relationships between all law enforcement personnel and 1st Responders. He also seeks to improve and join forces with agencies within the county as well as state and federal partners to establish task forces to combat the huge drug problem that has eroded our county for many decades thus leading to other major crimes. Burnis seeks a time where residents felt comfortable within their own homes and has and will continue to dedicate his life to protect the well being of Robeson County citizens. He feels it is his ultimate responsibility as Sheriff to bring a sense of safety and security to ALL citizens in the workplace and at home. Burnis seeks to continue to the work of the Sheriff’s Office and will implement some positive changes to better protect and serve the county.
In an effort to enhance services to the citizens as it pertaining to safety and security, Burnis plans to address and implement the following:
- Agency Accreditation – While a time consuming task, Burnis would seek National Accreditation for the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. This process would be recognized nationwide and provide a sense of professional pride while recognizing professional excellence. Public safety services are greatly enhanced being CALEA certified.
- “Badges & Bibles” – This program will bring our churches and deputies together to better serve each individual community. Deputies will be linked with area Pastors in an effort to reach our citizens through Christian communication and together reach out to troubled youth in an attempt to bring them into the church family and get them on the right track to becoming productive citizens.
- Social Media Releases (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.) This program would be set up as a way to communicate real time to communities throughout the county and will relay any information as it relates to crimes and other criminal activity. Photos of suspects and videos from surveillance systems would be made available for the citizenry quickly. Social media sources would also be used in such emergencies as with Hurricane Matthew in October 2016 when Burnis utilized his longtime personal Facebook Page and Twitter to keep all citizens abreast of conditions and all support during the storm and beyond. He assisted many residents and agencies with obtaining much needed supplies and in many cases made the deliveries himself. He was credited by thousands countywide as being the trustworthy source for information due to residents having no power for several days thereby causing residents to monitor their social media accounts via cell phones. This has been an effective tool for fighting crime even while Burnis has been serving as a City Councilman and has led to numerous arrests throughout Robeson County. Communications is the key to keep the community informed thereby helping with reducing and/or eliminating crime infested areas.
- Drug & Gang Task Force Burnis plans a multi-agency dual county drug and gang task force that will set forth an aggressive, yet professional, approach in ridding our area of the evil forces that continue to erode our county. Burnis has the training, experience and knowledge to set up such a team and has contact with local, state and federal partners willing to participate. While addressing the criminal aspect of the gang and drug problems, Burnis will also seek a partnership with many across the county willing to step up and mentor our youth at a very young age to deter their involvement in criminal activity.
- “Expanded Community Watch” – This program would expand on what is already in place by Sheriff Kenneth Sealey. Assigned Zone Deputies would be responsible for the announcements of upcoming community watches that would be held routinely and not just when there is a rash of crimes in a particular area. Participants would be provided with crime stats as they pertain to their particular area. This plan has proven very effective as Burnis leads the county’s largest community watch group in the Godwin Heights Community in Lumberton maintaining a roster of 40-50 residents in attendance each month. Burnis has used his group to help “Rid the community of Crime & Grime.”
- “Community Emergency Response Team” (CERT) – This program would be implemented in specific areas of the county in which citizens would be trained by certified FEMA Instructors. This training would be delivered in a classroom setting and will utilize realistic scenarios. These volunteer graduates would then have the equipment and knowledge to assist the sheriff’s office and the County Emergency Services Office with situations such as Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
- “Citizens Academy” – This program would be an 8 week orientation to interested volunteer citizens that are willing to assist the sheriff’s office during times of need to include but not limited to directing traffic at events, conducting citizens patrols and work in partnership with expanded community watch groups and be support for deputies and civilian personnel during crisis.
- “Kid Cadets” – This program would target children ages 13-17 and would introduce them into the world of law enforcement. The Kid Cadet would be paired with a deputy or Detention Officer and shown the responsibilities of a law enforcement officer. This is a way to get kids interested early in a rewarding career serving the public.
- “Kops & Kids” – This program would pair deputies and/or detention personnel with youth to serve as long term mentors. Burnis would seek a partnership with school counselors and parents to identify those students that are in need of an adult role model more so than others. Reaching our youth at an early age is paramount in steering them on the right path of success.
- “Inmate Labor” – Utilize inmate labor to assist with maintenance and routine care of county facilities and grounds under direct supervision of specialized Detention Officers.
- “Nuisance Abatement” – This program utilizing specifically trained deputies would target problem homes, rental properties and real property that is being utilized for the purpose of illegal drug sales and/or distribution or storage and other nuisance violations as described by law. Burnis recognizes the need to collaborate with state and federal partners in such a way to investigate and seek the seizer of the aforementioned properties. Burnis has experience in this field as he has utilized this procedure to seize property in the Raft Swamp community and also to close down problem ABC Bars, clubs and restaurants across the state. A similar procedure was utilized to close and remove the Roberts Avenue Mobile Home Park in Lumberton shortly after Burnis was elected City Councilman in 2013.
- Sheriff Sponsored Family Fun Day – As Sheriff of Robeson County, Burnis feels this position should be utilized in bringing communities together with family and friends and of course the kids to allow for a fun day with Deputies and others. These events would be a collaborative effort with each districts County Commissioner, volunteer rescue units and volunteer fire departments and will assist with the overall approach of Community Policing.