Caroline deputy running for sheriff
DENTON — Steven Biddle, a 23-year veteran of the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office, is seeking election to lead it, challenging Caroline County Sheriff Randy Bounds in the Nov. 6 general election.
Biddle, a lifelong resident of Greensboro and the sheriff’s office’s most senior deputy, said it has always been his goal to one day be sheriff.
He is pursuing that goal now in the hopes that a change of leadership can restore the department to what he said it once was.
“We are down six or seven deputies just over the last year,” Biddle said. “It’s hard on the deputies who are still here. We have do something to retain deputies.
“The pay is part of it, but it’s time for a change. Someone needs to step up and make the department the way it used to be. It used to be the place to be, and it’s not that way anymore.”
Biddle, a 1986 graduate of North Caroline High School, began his law enforcement career in October 1993 with Greensboro’s town force.
He said he approached the town’s then-police chief about joining, and the next thing he knew, he had been sworn in and issued a badge, car and gun — before he had even been to the police academy.
“They threw me to the wolves,” Biddle said. “I had to learn very quickly.”
He went to the academy in January 1994, graduating six months later. After another year with the Greensboro department, Biddle was hired in 1995 by the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office.
Biddle was a road deputy until 2002, when he began a 12-year stint working undercover on the narcotics task force.
“It was wild — a different world,” Biddle said.
Biddle said he loved the work, writing and executing search and seizure warrants, arresting offenders and testifying in court as a narcotics expert, in Caroline and Dorchester counties.
He then returned to road patrol until just recently, when he was reassigned to security in the Caroline County Circuit Courthouse.
It felt like the right time to run for sheriff, he said.
“I’m not a politician. I’m a police officer, and I always have been,” Biddle said. “Politics are new to me, and I’ve learned it can be nasty at times.” Biddle said his family and fellow deputies are supportive of his run for sheriff.
“I’m a deputy, not retired from the state police,” Biddle said. “Who better to run a sheriff’s office?”
Biddle said understaffing has made the sheriff’s office a reactive police force, rather than a proactive one.
“Right now, we just go call to call,” Biddle said.
He would like to form a warrant squad, solely to serve warrants and summonses, which would free up time for other deputies.
“Then those deputies can be more proactive, making traffic stops, stopping by schools, talking to people,” Biddle said.
He praised the school resource officer program, but said more input on how to protect schools should come from the teachers inside them.
“We all neglect to ask the teachers, the ones who know the kids, what do they think,” Biddle said.
Biddle said getting a handle on the opioid epidemic is also a priority.
“In my 12 years in narcotics, I very rarely saw heroin,” Biddle said. “But now it touches everyone. The majority of the crimes in this county are drug-related.”
He said education and treatment, not jail time, will do more good.
“I would work with all entities to help addicts,” Biddle said. “A lot of good people are affected. We didn’t have the support (resources) before we do now.
“If we can stop people from using, it will decrease crime. Crime won’t ever go away completely, but anything is a help.”
Biddle said he would also like to initiate more collaboration between town, county and state police.
“Working as a unit only benefits everyone,” he said.
The first step, however, would be returning the sheriff’s office to fully staffed, with the kind of passionate deputies who inspire others to also step up, Biddle said.
“It’s going to be like it used to be, a lot of go-getters working together,” Biddle said.