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My name is Daniel Heath and I have been a member of the Wilson community for almost nine years now, serving as a minister.
Several years ago, I had conversations with friends and acquaintances who have spent time in the jail. They talked to me about their desire to connect with faith in their darkest moments and found little opportunity to do so in our county’s jail.
After prayer, I felt prompted to reach out to our sheriff to see what I could do as a minister to serve our community through the sheriff’s department.
Over the course of a year I made many attempts to invite a conversation with Sheriff Woodard. Limited response from he and his administration informed me that they were not interested in having conversation.
We in the religious community strongly believe that the only way the nasty cycles of sin in our community will be broken is by the power, grace, love and mercy of God. Wilson County would only benefit from a strong partnership between our religious and law enforcement communities. Let’s creatively imagine ways we can help influence individuals and families together.
Sensing that the Woodard administration is not willing to have this conversation, I was hopeful when I saw other candidates running for election this year. I reached out to the two challengers I am aware of — Dinise Williams and Chris Boykin.
Dinise Williams responded to my email inquiry in a timely manner and promised a phone call and a sit-down meeting. However, a month has passed and I have not received a phone call as of yet.
Chris Boykin responded when I reached out to him via social media immediately, and I received a phone call within two minutes of sending my message. After several follow-up conversations we have scheduled a preliminary meeting to sit down and discuss details of how we can begin to build a role for the faith community that supports and edifies the good work of our sheriff’s department.
I write this in a public forum to inform my brothers and sisters in the religious community on a matter that is the core of our hearts and to invite interested leaders to have this conversation. Regardless of who is elected as our next sheriff, I am hoping and praying for a group of leaders in the Wilson community who are ready to work together to make this a brighter place.