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 reelected 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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