Sheriff William Oliver celebrated his one-year anniversary as sheriff of Yadkin County on Jan. 26, and he still has three years left on his term.
A lifetime resident of Yadkin County, Oliver has been preparing himself for this title since he was 18 years old. He began his career in the communications department at the Yadkin County Sheriff’s Office and progressed to a patrol officer and detention officer. He spent about 13 years in narcotics investigations and worked his way up to chief deputy before leaving to work in Forsyth County.
Oliver was over the community sheriff’s community policing program in Lewisville for 10 years before he decided to retire. He spent a year and a half in retirement before county commissioners contacted him.
“In January 2011 I was asked to consider taking the position of the sheriff here in Yadkin County and after a lot of consideration I decided that it was something that I had always wanted to do,” Oliver said.
Since accepting the position, Oliver has been working to update the office’s software and programs and to implement an inventory program to track all of the departments resources.
“I found that we didn’t have anything currently in use to completely document vehicles, weapons and other equipment that the sheriff’s office operated and owned, so we installed some new software equipment,” Oliver said.
This also led to the standardization of the office’s vehicles and weapons to make them more cost efficient and easier to manage, he said.
Next, the office worked toward improving its 911 call recording system. The previous system would occasionally not record calls, and Oliver upgraded to a system that starts recording before the conversation actually begins.
Other computer upgrades also allow the office to set up a mobile office in case of emergency and provides their officers and operators with as much information as possible when responding to 911 calls.
A new call-taking policy was also implemented that requires all calls to have a disposition that will eliminate missing reports.
“A lot of these things that we’ve accomplished is not just me,” Oliver said. “The sheriff can provide a vision and some leadership but it takes a lot of other people cooperating and working to make that happen. Obviously I’ve had that, and I can’t say enough about the staff. They’ve gotten behind me and done a lot of great things to make this work.”
The sheriff’s office responsibilities include providing security to the courts, operating the jail, serving civil process and warrants, answering calls for service and investigating crimes. Oliver says that drugs, breaking and entering and larcenies are the biggest crimes that the county faces right now.
“Those are the crimes that have the biggest impact on the county,” Oliver said. “We’re working hard, and I think that’s reflected in the amount of people that we have in the jail and the number of arrests that we’re making on those charges.”
Oliver’s goals for the upcoming year include the creation of a crime prevention program. He says he hopes the program will focus on educating the youth and the elderly, and he would like to have a full-time crime prevention officer.
“We do what we can to put [criminals] in jail and get as much of your property back as we can, but once you become a victim of a crime, we can’t fix that,” Oliver said. “The emotional impact it has on you or the sentimental value of the items you lose we can’t replace that so we want to work towards preventing those crimes from happening.”
Oliver said that he does plan to run for sheriff at the end of his term in three years.
“I think [being sheriff] gives me an opportunity to give back to the county and to make a difference,” Oliver said. “I feel strongly about the fact that Yadkin County deserves the best law enforcement available, and I feel like to get that you need someone with experience and a background in law enforcement. I’m trying to provide the best services I can to the citizens of Yadkin County by using all the training and resources that I have.”