DENTON — Ground was officially broken Tuesday, April 9, on the site of what will be the new Caroline County Sheriff’s Office.

“This is a day many thought we would never see in our lifetime,” said Caroline County Sheriff Randy Bounds. “But thanks to the hard work of a lot of great folks, we are ready to see the new sheriff’s office rise from the ground.”

The 13,000-square foot building, scheduled to open in July 2020, will be situated on the county-owned Double Hills Road property, just down the road from the Caroline County Department of Emergency Services’ facility.

The new sheriff’s office will house the criminal investigation and patrol divisions, with a secure booking area, two sally ports for inmate transportation, separate facilities for adults and juveniles, interview and interrogation rooms, training space, a conference room, dedicated workspace for all employees, expanded record and evidence storage and adequate parking.

It will replace the 4,000-square foot space the sheriff’s office currently occupies in the basement of the Caroline County Detention Center in downtown Denton, in which is crammed eight offices and a single holding cell.

Bounds said the need for the newer, larger facility has been evident since at least 2006, when Capt. James Henning, then a sergeant, completed a study that was presented to the Caroline County commissioners by then-Sheriff Philip Brown.

Bounds said the commissioners at that time agreed with the study’s findings, but the money to build a new facility simply was not there.

After Bounds first took office in late 2010, Henning updated the study, and in early 2013, Caroline County Comptroller Cathie Moore helped the sheriff’s office assemble a budget and potential project timeline to present to the current commissioners, President Larry Porter, Vice President Dan Franklin and Commissioner Wilbur Levengood.

Over the next five years, Bounds said, the commissioners worked hard to find a solution, ultimately unanimously voting for an income tax increase — the year before all three would be up for re-election, a move Bounds called “politically courageous” — to fund both the new sheriff’s office and a new elementary school in Greensboro.

In early 2018, 12 years after the study was first completed, Bounds said, the commissioners authorized the sheriff’s office to start working with architectural firm Crosby & Associates.

Bounds thanked the commissioners and county employees who had helped make the new facility a reality.

He also thanked the nearly 40 employees of the sheriff’s office, who adapted to the increasingly inadequate space in the detention center basement while they waited for the solution.

“I commend your sense of duty,” Bounds said.

Bounds said law enforcement officers applicants are asked why they want to join the ranks. Most say they want to help people.

“When this much-needed building is complete, our hope and dream is actually quite simple — that it will be the catalyst for us to become even better at helping people, and making a difference in their lives, often in their darkest hour,” Bounds said. “Because when all is said and done, the degree to which we have helped others will be the ultimate measure of the success of our mission.”

Porter said when he and Levengood first took office in 2010, and Franklin in 2014, new public safety facilities were among their top priorities.

Since then, the county’s 911 dispatch center and Department of Emergency Services have moved into updated facilities.

The commissioners are happy to see the sheriff’s office will finally have the space and technology needed to allow deputies to do the incredible job they do of serving the citizens of Caroline County, Porter said.

“This building will be turn out to be typical Caroline County — not a lot of bells or frills, but it will serve us,” Porter said. “This is a good day.”

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