Stanley R. Griffin has been a Marine, a police officer, a music manager, a railway conductor, a teacher and a bail bondsman, but “Big Grif” – as he is known around town – wants to add a new title to his resume: Sheriff of Nash County.
“I started seeing a lot of things going on around the community, like the drug issue and gang violence,” said Griffin, who plans to run as a Democrat in the November 2014 election. “I feel like I have more to offer the community, but to fix a problem you’ve got to be in the game. I mean, you can’t shoot a free throw from the bleachers.”
The 43-year-old said his professional career and his volunteer work have allowed him to talk with many at-risk youth and develop his passion for helping them turn their lives around. Griffin said if he is elected to the post, he’d like the Nash County Sheriff’s Office to be a leader in law enforcement and the community.
Sheriff Dick Jenkins said he will step down in 2014
“A lot of these kids are turning to these gangs because they are not getting the attention they need from home,” Griffin said. “I don’t think the brute force of law enforcement is going to take care of the problem. We have to have programs in place to give them an alternative or an escape route from that lifestyle.”
The father of three college students said he’d like to establish a joint task force with the Rocky Mount Police Department and the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office to share information and work together to address issues in the Twin Counties.
“Once you’ve given them the opportunity to get out and deal with those who didn’t take the opportunity, I think the community will get behind you because they’ll see the efforts that have already been made,” he said. “It takes a village to raise a child, so everyone has to be involved – but it has to start with someone, and why not law enforcement?”
He said he’d like to implement the Gang Resistance Education And Training, GREAT, among deputies, especially the school resource officers. The national academic program is similar to Drug Abuse Resistance Education, DARE, but focuses on providing life skills to students to help them avoid using negative behavior and violence to solve problems.
Griffin said holding joint training with other local law enforcement agencies is another proactive approach he’d like to bring to the table.
“My focus would be less on traffic and more on being more visible in the community,” Griffin said. “We’ve got a lot of subdivisions where people are away during the day for work, so I’d like to set up checkpoints in those areas during the day because the people most likely riding through those areas are the ones who doing these breaking and enterings.”
Griffin has more than 16 years in law enforcement, including six at the Rocky Mount Police Department before being terminated in 2002.
He said the termination stemmed from his music studio, Iron Fist Entertainment, which was deemed a “conflict of interest” with his job as an officer.
An appeal letter by then-City Manager Steve Raper said Griffin also lied to then-Police Chief Bill Hogan about knowledge of the criminal history of Curtis Walker Jr., his business associate.
“I did not lie to Chief Hogan about his criminal history because I had no reason to check his criminal history. I had never arrested him, and he was not the subject of any investigation,” Griffin said. “The bottom line is we weren’t engaging in any criminal behavior. We were doing music and giving young people a chance to better their lives and if I had the chance, I’d do it all over again.”
If elected as the first black Nash County sheriff, he said he’d encourage fairness and equality from deputies.
“I try to treat everyone the same and make no one feel like they are second-class citizens,” Griffin said. “All barriers – whether it is language, poverty or unemployment – are unacceptable and need to be knocked out.”
Former N.C. Highway Patrol Capt. Keith Stone also has announced he plans to run for the office of Nash County sheriff.