One of the most contested races on the upcoming ballot for the May 24 general election will be for the office of DeKalb County sheriff, with six individuals vying for the role.
Current sheriff Jeffrey Mann is running against Michael Williams, an investigator with the district attorney’s office in DeKalb; Kyle Jones, a business owner; Ted Golden, a retired special agent for the DEA; Harold Dennis, former DeKalb reserve lieutenant; and Geraldine Champion, a retired homicide detective.
Mann won a special run-of election to fill the remaining term of former sheriff Tom Brown in July, 2014 and is now running to be elected to a full four-year term. Since then, he has been involved in various rehabilitation programs related to drug and alcohol treatment and mental health; a GED program through Georgia Piedmont Technical College; enhancing department technology; and maintaining public safety, according to his campaign site.
Williams is a 28 year law enforcement veteran whose goals for the office include ensuring the safety of citizens; transparency for the operation of the jail; proper training and better pay for law enforcement officers; and enhancing mental health awareness.
“The safety concerns of citizens in DeKalb must come first,” Williams said. “It is time for the sheriff’s office to become actively engaged in law enforcement duties in addition to in the courts and the jail.”
Jones said his goals as sheriff would include enhancing public safety through a variety of programs; to train law enforcement staff and hold them accountable; to involve the community and to develop and institute security and emergency response plans.
“As someone who has faithfully served the law enforcement community for more than 20 years and who has direct experience in dealing with safety and security of the DeKalb County courts and jail, I am prepared and committed to make DeKalb County a safe place for all residents and employees,” Jones said in a statement.
Golden served 28 years with the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration. His goals for the office include law enforcement partnerships; fiscal transparency and accountability; and aggressively pursuing programs for youth to come up with solutions and ways to encourage them away from lives of crime.
“I have a vision to bring change to the county and I believe we are sitting on a pot of gold and we have to mine that gold,” Golden said. “I am tired of talking about problems and pointing fingers -- I am about solutions, but I cannot do it by myself. We have to do this together.”
Dennis, who previously ran for the office in 2001, said his goals if elected would include an open door policy for citizens to interact with the sheriff’s office; a focus on youth programs for at-risk children; initiating job training programs to help individuals find employment; and reaching out to business owners to help employ low-risk inmates through a second chance program.
“I am running because I was tired of turning on the TV and seeing the county in such disarray,” Dennis said. “There are two types of people -- those who complain and those who do something and bring solutions -- so I decided to step up to the plate.”
According to Champion’s website, her goals as sheriff would include an open-door policy; drug rehabilitation programming; a job placement program; and to take care of the senior citizen community.
“As a candidate for sheriff, these issues are vitally important to us all,” Champion said in a statement. “We can work together to change our county, in which we live, work, and raise our families.”