New Columbus County Sheriff hopes to restore trust between office, community

Rogers says when he was appointed in October to fill the remainder of Greene's first term, there was a lot of uncertainty surrounding the future of the office.
Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 6:28 PM EST
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COLUMBUS COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Columbus County Sheriff Bill Rogers is less than two weeks into his four-year appointment and faces challenges in running an office that became the subject of state and federal investigations into former Sheriff Jody Greene.

Rogers was appointed to fill the remainder of Greene’s first term after he resigned in October. Greene was re-elected in November and took back the office in late December, only to resign less than a week later. County commissioners then appointed Rogers again to fill the rest of Greene’s four-year term.

“Everything is permanent now, well for the four years, so all the tension and everything has eased off from everybody,” said Rogers. “Our priority is to get our community relationships back with our community because we have to work well with them.”

Rogers retired from a lengthy career with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol in October, just days before his first appointment to the sheriff’s seat. Now in for his second stint at the helm, Rogers wants to make the role his own.

“Let’s move forward over this process that’s been in the past couple of months,” he said.

Rogers says he would like to see a change in the form of a more diverse sheriff’s office. He says the path to diversity and understanding starts with training and education.

“Like with our detectives and then our road deputies, training and education means a whole lot and I’ve reached out to the justice academy, I’m looking at some different training just to help out with the diversity issues, help out with them knowing more about how to do their job and, you know, you can never have too much education,” said Rogers.

He added, however, that the sheriff’s office is only useful if it can work hand-in-hand with the people it serves.

“We’ve got to get the relationship back because, you know, you can be good as an officer but still, you’ve got to have the community to help you,” said Rogers. “I mean, they see things that we don’t see, there’s not so many of us so, [we have to] get that good working relationship with the community and the feedback with both of us to help one another.”

Rogers has appointed former County Commissioner Jerome McMillian to serve as Chief Deputy. Rogers says he worked with McMillian as a state trooper.

“He’s got local law enforcement experience and went to patrol the same as me. So, we worked together on the same shift, shift partners, it means a whole lot. Me and him have got a good working relationship together and we’ve been together for a lot of years. So, I think that’s gonna be a good transition for us,” said Rogers.

Rogers worked with Greene during their time with the State Highway Patrol but says he hasn’t spoken to Greene since this latest appointment as Sheriff.