Former county CEO Vernon Jones wants sheriff’s job

“DeKalb County needs some serious leadership, not just someone that says, ‘I’ve been a police officer,’” said former DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones when he announced his bid for the county sheriff’s position. Photos by Travis Hudgons

Former DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones is back in the political spotlight after announcing his bid for the county sheriff’s position.

“This sheriff’s office is not going to be your father’s Oldsmobile,” Jones said during a news conference Feb. 20 in Decatur. “We’re going to be more efficient, we’re going to be more effective and we’re going to be tougher on crime.

“We’re not here to replace the police department but we are here to support and augment and help them in the war on crime,” Jones said. “That’s from the Doraville Police Department, Chamblee Police Department, Brookhaven and DeKalb—all of the police departments. I’m sending a notice to each and every police chief and every one of those officers who put their lives on the line each and every day that DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office will not sit around idly by and see this county go to hell in a hand basket.”

Jones served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1993-2001, and was elected to the county CEO position in 2000 and re-elected in 2004.


“DeKalb County needs some serious leadership, not just someone that says, ‘I’ve been a police officer;’ not just someone that says, ‘I can do the job;’ but someone who has the capability and ability to get in, roll their sleeves up and run this operation the way it needs to be run,” Jones said.

As sheriff, Jones said, he would “do a thorough analysis to see how many deputies are doing civilian jobs that could be…in law enforcement positions.” He would move more deputies to the streets to aid in various law enforcement functions, including code enforcement and neighborhood patrols, he said.

“There’s room—a lot of room—where the Sheriff’s Office has been underutilized,” Jones said. “As a matter of fact, before the current sheriff came in there was a narcotics unit. It was disbanded, as I understand, under his administration. So there’s a lot of room for improvement. There’s a lot of room to do more law enforcement.”

Touting his 20 years of service “in and out of office,” Jones said, “As I look at the office of sheriff, which is an administrator’s job that runs the courts and runs the jail, as an administrator, I know how to manage resources. I know how to run an operation. My background and my experience is second to none.”

Jones said that none of the other candidates have the administrative experience to run the Sheriff’s Office.

“None of them have any management experience of running a large organization or even a large police department,” Jones said. You don’t have to be a law enforcement officer to be the sheriff. This is an administrator’s job. This is about managing resources. This is about directing traffic. This is about efficiency and effectiveness in government. This is about being able to have a relationship with the board of commissioners to get your budget through.

“This is one time that experience does count,” Jones said.


Special election set for county sheriff


The DeKalb County Board of Registration and Elections has called for a special election to fill the vacancy in sheriff’s position resulting from the resignation of Sheriff Thomas Brown effective Feb. 28.

The election will be held in conjunction with the May 20 general primary and nonpartisan elections. Special elections are considered nonpartisan.

Qualifying for the general primary, nonpartisan and special sheriff elections will begin at 9 a.m. on Monday, March 3, and end at noon on Friday, March 7.

County partisan candidates (commissioners) will qualify with their respective county party. The DeKalb Democratic Party will qualify candidates at 3203 Glenwood Road, Decatur, and the DeKalb Republican Party will qualify candidates at its headquarters, 1532 Dunwoody Village Parkway, Suite 100, Dunwoody. Nonpartisan county candidates (state court judges, school board members and sheriff) will qualify with the Voter Registration and Elections Department at 4380 Memorial Drive, Suite 300, Decatur.

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  1. Bob Durkis says:

    Vernon is incorrect when he states none of the other candidates have the administrative experience to run a large department. He obviously doesn’t have a clue. When the final list has qualified there will be several for the educated voter to choose from.

  2. Jamie L. Gray says:

    This is a great article. Of the list of candidates being circulated, I, personally, have not found another candidate who has claimed the level of management experience needed to serve as Sheriff of such a large office. I’m sure Vernon’s camp will be well prepared for whoever tosses their name in the hat. After all, competition breeds champions!

  3. Bob Durkis says:

    Vernon’s camp will be prepared for sure. Vernon in this competition, if he’s successful, will breed cronyism and corruption. You need to look a little closer at the candidates. For a minor example, Chief Deputy Mann has already been running the Dept. for 12 years. I’m not saying he is by far the most qualified, because he has some strong contenders. Sorry, Vernon is not one of them.

  4. Jamie L. Gray says:

    Jeff Mann has served as the #2 for the DeKalb Sheriff’s Department, but I would argue that Tom Brown was running it. Having said that, I believe that the current leadership at the Sheriff’s Department has lacked vision. It’s one thing to maintain an office and another to lead it. I’m not saying that Jeff Mann, or any of the other candidates, are incapable of doing the job. But, I am saying that I believe that Vernon Jones is the most qualified and best candidate for the job! I wish all the candidates well. In regards to your predictions about a Vernon Jones administration at the DeKalb Sheriff’s Department, you are definitely entitled to your opinion. But, you know what they say about opinions….

  5. Mike says:

    Jeff Mann is by far the best person for the job. He HAS be running the department for 12 years. While the Sheriff has been there, he has been grooming the chief for the job which is what any good sheriff would and should do. Vernon cost the tax payers a lot of money, has everyone forgotten that? Not to mention the reverse racial issues. Do you think that the few white employees that are still with the sheriffs department will want to or feel comfortable working under Jones, likely not. And for those of you that says who cares if they leave, well the accrediting bodies care if they leave, the department is supposed to maintain ratios based on race. Anyway, Jeff Mann is my candidate. or catch him on facebook at jeff mann for sheriff

  6. Bill Camy says:

    Jeff Mann and his buddy tom brown gave millions back to the county than could have been used to add to the under-staffed department in the jail and on the street. Those millions were needed to serve those thousands and thousands of outstanding warrants out there. Besides Jeff has never taken a criminal off the street but has!

  7. Bob Durkis says:

    Would like to hear from candidates if it would be cost effective to open the jail kitchen to feed inmates. Also, could this be an incentive to train short term inmates in a cooking trade. Seems a waste to cater all those meals.

  8. Harrison Miller says:

    Vernon has defintely solidified the support of the media. He has coached and persuaded them to really promote him. One thing about this race is this, true enough Vernon has been an administrator, but what this department needs is an administrator who understands Law Enforcement! Vernon showed Dekalb how aware he was when he hired Terrell Bolton as a shoe in on the election process while he was an administrator of this county. Terrell Left the Police Department a mess while two officers were slain by a thug whom they were trying to sell drugs to. Are we really speaking of Vernon Jones? The same Vernon Jones who narrowly escaped sexual allegations upon leaving office. The same Vernon Jones who when he realized that he wouldn’t win as a democrat in a Congressional Race suddenly changed to a Republican qualifier? How loyal are you to the citizens of Dekalb? This is the individual who is touting ” Our Sheriff”!

    Then comes Jeff Mann… He has worked under Thomas Brown, and has taken all of the credits under his administration. But has he accepted his failures? Has he accepted the fact that out of at least 70% of the personal friends that Thomas Brown has hired has all been under indictment while working with the sheriff’s office? The most recent being a Sgt who held a Violation of a Controlled Substance Act was still hired because of his affiliation and then was arrested for stealing inmates personal information for financial gain? How much is Jeff Mann for bettering the Department when he boasts on the Moral which has not increased since he has held the position of Chief Deputy from the late Louis Graham? The Department is at an all time low! The Triple Crown Accreditation? There are far more better Departments who operate 100% better that don’t hold this financially funded award!

    Let’s Make Sure we look at the Credentials of Each Candidate! Look at who can bring True Leadership to this Office! Let’s Sincerely Make the Right Choice!

  9. Sanchez says:

    Dale Collins is the better candidate for Sheriff. He is not a politician. He is a true Law Enforcement Officer. He is great role model with over 20 plus years service in this great profession. I was once one of his subordinates. He has truly inspired me to aim for my goals and try to exceed my goals. Dale Collins has always been firm but fair to everyone he encounters.

    I have worked under Jeff Mann. He honestly has no clue on what’s going on inside of the Jail. He has let a group of incompetent so called leaders (Command Staff) run his jail into the ground. He promotes those who are not qualified to be supervisors without any testing. Sergeants stripes are now given to those who are the majors personal favorites or if they played on the Majors football team. Months later to find out that one Sergeant that was promoted was a ring leader of stealing innocent people’s credit card information. Under Jeff Mann Dekalb is taking a potential costly risk to the citizens of Dekalb County because of Negligent Retention and Negligent Supervision.

    Vernon Jones is the reason why Dekalb is no longer one of the wealthiest counties. He is the reason why cities like Brookhaven and Dunwoody exist.

    Vote for Dale Collins.

  10. Bob Durkis says:

    This race will take some scrutiny on the part of voters. I believe Vernon Jones has burned his last bridge and won’t be a threat.
    The remaining field all have someting to bring to the table.

  11. David smith says:

    This race is one of honesty vs dishonesty… Values versus agendas.. Experience vs inexperience, visionary vs blinded, he list goes on…..All the candidates mean well but can not do well. The Sheriff’s office is not a minor position…. There is only one candidate that can handle the political edge of county government and the law enforcement edge of being head of a major Sheriff’s Office.. That’s candidate Dale Collins …did you know… Collins was beaten as a inspiring college student by bad cops……that’s why he demands that his officers treat people as innocent as the constitution says..; before he mistreats your children or you as a citizen . Rouge officers under The present Sheriff have made major headlines. Drug dealers, credit card fraud, identity fraud, are all ex sheriff’s This county can’t take the blows issued by the present Sheriff. Dale is an advocate for fairness on the streets, in the courts and in the jail. He sees law enforcement as a customer service issue. Nasty clerks and disrespectful interactions will be a thing of the past .

    Collins brings a fresh agenda to this county… He plans on saving money from a collaboration of resources with the police department. Why have dual roles when combined resources help all law enforcement get the job done . Isn’t that the purpose… Best services for the people… He plans on being proactive with students instead of dealing with them at 18…. What Sheriff has the forethought to be proactive… Keep good kids good and make wayward kids good as well. He even entertained supporting a Charter school that has a law enforcement theme so that Dekalb Co. Can grow from a “seed” great law enforcement professionals ..automatic job from the time of graduation from a law enforcement themed high school…. This Collins guy gets it he said he believes in giving the citizens of Dekalb their money worth!

    I like that he’s the only one that won’t have a learning curve and can instantly get too the business of being Sheriff.. He is not so far removed from Dekalb SHeriff Office that he’ll have to start from scratch… All others will… That old CEO has not a clue…. He even touts not knowing law enforcement and his false claims to achievements w the police dept. are just that FAlse…. legislators don’t make good Sheriffs!

    All other candidates just have no clue …female candidate was a technician and pretty only gets you so far… The women voters in Dekalb want efficient not pretty,

    APD officer candidates were just that officers.. Managements skills are untested, and unknown.. Why haven’t they elevated in the huge APD enterprise..

    .. DeKalb Co. PD candidate was purely and is purely a road officer and his management skills caused him the close a business in Dekalb… When you can’t keep one of the largest chains in fast foods open FBI call that a clue that major organizations aren’t for you…

    Interim sheriff is just that a stand-by Sheriff. He’s holding the job for Collins….

    Then you have a Collins … Mastered every division in the Sheriff’s Office .. Entrusted by the past sheriff , Tom Brown to handle..personally monies and properties of the office. Management skills away from law enforcement to many to mention. Honest heart and a public servant spirit. He’s a regular guy who’ll hear you and not try to out talk you . I see but one choice…..

    • Vincent Ford says:

      Thank you for your honesty and directness about this election David Smith. I hope your words reach all voters.

  12. Bob Durkis says:

    Vernon, we voters see what you did there with that baby photo.

  13. Eric Richardson says:

    The choice for me is easy. Jeff Mann is clearly the one candidate that has proven he has the ability to run the office. Vernon Jones is a man that is wholly lacking of ethics. Do yall remember he tried to fool us into thinking he had the support of Obama when he ran for the Senate? The Obama campaign had to issue a statement disavowing any connection to him. Jones opportunistic ways lead him to think by giving money to a few named Republican he could make white people think he was “conservative” . We have a terrible tack record here in DeKalb of electing good and honest people. Lets get it right this time by electing Jeff Mann.

  14. Bob Durkis says:

    Dekalb better get it right this time! Too many crooks have been put into office by voters who don’t do their homework. We are eaten up by con artists who talk out of both sides of their mouths to get into office and then line their pockets. I’m embarrassed to say I live in Dekalb. Been here too long to up and move. Just waiting for honest people to run this county.

  15. Bob Durkis says:

    Between now and the next vote, there need to be a few debates in this sheriff’s race. The public have some SERIOUS questions for Vernon to address. The public that are clueless about Vernons activity during his tenure as CEO should attend a debate and learn.

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