We’ve seen since the 1990s that a “tough on crime” stance does not deter crime and often hardens low-level offenders by forcing them into a cycle of poverty and hopelessness. It’s time to be “smart on crime” by focusing on serious offenses and understanding the power of rehabilitation.
A 2018 audit of the Clarke County Sheriff’s Department revealed deep institutional problems including low morale, high turnover, low standards of training, and inefficient hiring practices. Law enforcement agencies around the country currently face many of these problems, but we can’t keep doing the same things and expecting different results. I have worked with my team to address many of these concerns, but we have more work to do and are determined to meet that challenge.
For too long, the Sheriff’s Department has allowed its low profile to act as a cover, as opposed to being accountable and transparent to the public that it serves.
Gang and gun violence are a rising problem in our community. Safety in our schools is threatened on a daily basis. There are some who feel that because the Sheriff has not directly addressed these issues in the past, I should not be involved now. It’s important to uphold our promise to protect and serve everyone in Athens-Clarke County, regardless of color, creed, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, or citizenship status. As Sheriff, I will not stand by and wait for others to address these major issues in our community.