A Q&A with DeKalb County sheriff candidates

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DeKalb County Sheriff Jeff Mann

 

DeKalb County Sheriff Jeff Mann and former CEO Vernon Jones face each other in a runoff election July 22. In the primary elections in May, Mann received approximately 39 percent of the overall vote with Jones trailing at approximately 22 percent. Mann has worked for the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office for more than 14 years and replaced outgoing Sheriff Thomas Brown, who left to run for Congress. Jones served as DeKalb County CEO from 2001-09 and prior to that served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1993-2001.

For The Champion’s question and answer article, both candidates were asked to limit their responses to 50 words or the responses would be cut after they passed the 50-word mark.

What qualifications do you have that makes you the best choice to run the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office?

Mann: I have worked within the DeKalb County government for more than 20 years, creating and maintaining good working relationships with the Board of Commissioners, constitutional officers, to include judges, as well as county department heads. This experience gives me a level of insight on how to work with the judicial…

Jones: I love DeKalb County, and I love the people who live here. We are a diverse and faithful community, full of resilience and the perseverance to overcome the many challenges laid before us over the years. As CEO, I led our county through the largest economic expansion in our nearly…

What lessons did you learn throughout this campaign?

Mann: Voters are sincerely interested in understanding the relative roles of the Sheriff’s Office and the police department, and when discussed, appreciate the cooperation between the two agencies but understand duplication of services is not in the best interest of the county. Conduct yourself as the chief law enforcement officer of…

Jones: I have been impressed by the grassroots efforts of neighborhood groups and the faith-based community banding together to stop crime in their neighborhoods. But they can’t do it alone. They need a sheriff who will work hand in hand to create a safer community. I’m ready to work with them.

Is there a particular anecdote or experience you recently had with a resident in DeKalb County that made an impression on you?

Mann: I was moved by the sense of relief a citizen expressed regarding the mental health care and the appropriate treatment her son received while in the Jail. She was most impressed with the amount of resources our agency commits to mental health care and treatment, to include counseling services, patient…

Former DeKalb CEO Vernon Jones
Former DeKalb CEO Vernon Jones

 

Jones: I was brought to tears when I heard the story of the home invasion and shooting death of a nine-month-old baby in Stone Mountain. This crime was tragic and shocking, and it has motivated me more than ever to work hard every day to make our community safer. This should…

 

How have you prepared yourself to manage the more than $70 million budget of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office?

Mann: As chief deputy sheriff, I directly managed the budget, with fiscal restraint and without a hint of mismanagement or financial impropriety. I have a good working relationship with the CEO and the Board of Commissioners as evidenced by my endorsements. These relationships are critical to effectively manage the Sheriff’s Office.

Jones: Leading DeKalb County during the largest economic expansion in DeKalb County’s history gave me the skills and experience to manage a large operation. We had an annual budget of close to $1 billion, with 7,000+ employees, the highest triple AAA bond rating, and I’m proud to say that we always…

What areas of the budget would you change to save taxpayer money?

Mann: We have managed an austere budget over the last 14 years, saving the taxpayers millions of dollars. To reduce the amount of overtime at local hospitals, I intend to bring more health related services directly to the jail that will greatly reduce the transportation budget and the officer resources that…

 

Jones: We have to be more efficient at the Sheriff’s Office. There is an overlap in the duties performed by sworn deputies and civilian personnel. We also must make tracking down the most egregious of the 17,000+ outstanding warrants, collect those fees, and take the most violent offenders off the street…

What is your experience in law enforcement? Do you think it’s important for the DeKalb County sheriff to have prior experience in law enforcement?

Mann: I represented the DeKalb Police Department and Sheriff’s Office in legal matters for 8 years. I have worked directly for the Sheriff’s Office the past 13 years, obtaining peace officer certification (POST) in 2006.

Jones: As CEO of DeKalb County, I was commander in chief of the police and fire forces. I created the first homeland security office for our county and managed a force of 1,000+ people. Finally, I established the police insurance fund that compensated the families of officers who lose their lives.

What did you do to connect with residents, such as attend debates or political forums, or go campaigning door-to-door?

Mann: I listened as many citizens as possible. I attended 13 sheriff’s political forums during the special election; campaigned door-to-door; visited churches and synagogues, dialogued with faith based and community leaders about the prevailing needs of DeKalb citizens, telephoned citizens; attended meet and greets in citizens’ homes and attended numerous homeowner’s…

Jones: I have spent as much time as possible speaking one-on-one with the people of DeKalb. Politicians love to talk and tell everybody what their “plan” is. And I have a plan – but I am more interested in listening. The ideas that will solve our crime spree will come directly from…

What is the first thing you will do to make the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office a better place to work?

Mann: The Sheriff’s Office is a nationally recognized agency with the National Sheriff’s Association Triple Crown Distinction, which only one percent of sheriff’s offices in the nation maintain. Notwithstanding, increasing detention officer pay will be the number one priority.

Jones: I will end nepotism and cronyism and institute a fairer system that will respect the rights of workers under my command. Commanders get respect when you treat your soldiers with respect.

Do you think that deputies should be provided a county-issued, take home vehicle? Why or why not?

Mann: Undercover deputies already have take-home vehicles. If the budget allows for a sufficient number of marked vehicles to be purchased for uniform deputies, those deputies living within the county will be allowed take home vehicles.

Jones: Visibility and presence in a community is the simplest crime prevention measure we can undertake. Through GPS tracking and fuel efficient upgrades to our vehicles we can ensure appropriate use of sheriff property and save money on longer commutes.

 

 

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3 thoughts on “A Q&A with DeKalb County sheriff candidates

  • June 16, 2014 at 9:19 am
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    Limiting responses to 50 words doesn’t help us fully understand the candidates positions. Also noticed some were a little over 50 words before being cut off. This article, in my opinion, doesn’t help the people of Dekalb county become more informed.

    Reply
  • June 18, 2014 at 4:01 am
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    Lord the bullcrap Vernon can throw out!

    Reply

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