Sheriff Schatzman speaks to local businesses

RURAL HALL — Sheriff William T. Schatzman was the guest speaker for the Rural Hall Area Business Association’s May meeting. First elected sheriff in 2002 and serving in his third elected term, Schatzman shared how the sheriff’s department is involved in small communities.

“We have two good deputy sheriffs here with you, and we partner well with your manager and board, and your Mayor,” Sheriff Schatzman began. It was pointed out that a new officer, Jeff Shaffer, has joined Mitch Faw in serving the Rural Hall community.

“We share a database with the Winston-Salem Police Department and other agencies around us,” Schatzman said. Partnering with other agencies has allowed information to be shared more efficiently.

The sheriff’s department implemented new systems for tracking information about ten years ago. “What you don’t measure, you can’t do,” explained Schatzman.

Some of the statistics gathered include an overall crime rate remaining steady, with a slight increase in property crimes and a decrease in minor crimes such as public disorder. “This is a very quiet, calm, law abiding town,” said Schatzman.

The sheriff’s department has made requests to the Forsyth County Commissioners for increased personnel and compensation. “We must be competitive with recruiting,” said Schatzman, “and we are taking a giant step forward with that in the 2016 cycle.”

The department hopes to increase the number of positions by 70 over the next several years. “With the population in the jail, you need staff,” explained Schatzman. In the coming year twelve new positions are planned for the jail and eight in patrol, augmenting the six municipalities served.

“This county commissioner board, which funds the vast majority of what we do, is the most cooperative and partnering board we have ever had,” Schatzman said with gratitude for their interest.

Schatzman addressed a question about cameras. “We believe cameras will cause the population to act more civilly and respectfully, and will certainly dictate that our deputies will act more civilly,” he said. The department is looking into different vendors before purchasing a quantity of cameras.

“Rural Hall is a great community. We have a tough job, and you make it easier by partnering with us,” said Schatzman.

Diane Blakemore may be reached at 336-368-2222 or on twitter @PilotReporter.