--If you are the incumbent, why should you be re-elected? What have you accomplished during your time in office? If you are the challenger, why are you the better candidate for the office you’re seeking? What will you do better or differently than the incumbent?
It is my duty as Sheriff, as well as that of my staff, to serve and protect the people of Jackson County. We work to fight crime that affects our citizens. We partnered with the Appalachian Regional Drug Task Force to fight drugs in Jackson County. We purchased a tracking/drug K9, to assist with us.
We partnered with the Jackson County School System to increase the number of School Resource Officers in our schools. The safety and security of our schools are of the utmost importance, to protect our kids and school staff. We started the CHAMPS Program for all 5th graders to educate them on choices and challenges they will face, not only in school, but in life in general.
We started classes for the citizens, to include gun safety, church safety, self-defense, workplace violence, etc. We also have had Citizens Academy classes to inform our citizens what we deal with on a daily basis and how we partner with other agencies.
The reason I should be re-elected Sheriff is because we are not finished. We still have work to do to keep Jackson County a great place to live and work.
--The COVID virus has dramatically affected the entire world, including our local community. If you are the incumbent, how have you responded in your government position to the pandemic and helped the community? If you are the challenger, how would you use this public position to help the community in the coming weeks and months?
Following State and County guidelines we had to change our day to day operations at the Sheriff’s Office/Jail. Our front office is limited service by appointment only, however the jail lobby is open at all times, allowing only one person at a time in the lobby. We have been able to handle the needs of the people during this virus.
Road Deputies remain in their vehicles, limiting the amount of time they would come to the Office. Deputies have taken non- emergency reports over the phone, to limit contact with others as much as possible. All calls for service are answered. All staff have their personal protective equipment.
We immediately stopped on site visitation in the jail. Home Wave visitation is available to the inmates, which is provided by the vendor. Free calls and emails are being provided to the inmates, in order for them to stay in contact with their loved ones.
As the Sheriff, I have tried to keep the citizens informed through Facebook messages. I shared information by video through Facebook, with Georgia Emergency Management, providing updates on COVID 19.
As Sheriff, the most important thing to me is that people are informed and they stay safe and well.
--One of the likely impacts of the virus in the coming year will be to cut revenues coming into local governments. That will likely force some cuts in local government spending. Where would you propose making those cuts and what areas of local government should not be cut?
As Sheriff, I would say that public safety services should never be cut. With the tremendous growth that Jackson County has experienced, it has brought with it an increase in calls for service. We have more traffic issues, accidents, commercial traffic issues due to the amount of warehouses, more students in our schools which also leads to more vehicle traffic, and many more issues. We have to continue to answer these calls for service and do that in a timely manner.
The impact of the virus will definitely have an impact on government spending. We will examine every part of our budget and figure out how to save on spending and not jeopardize the services we provide to the people.
Throughout my time in Office, I have always been and will continue to be a good steward of taxpayer money. I take pride in the fact that we have been under budget each year of being in Office, in spite of the growth the County has had and continues to have.
--What is the most important issue you see that involves the position you are running for?
There are many important issues I see each day that affect the Office of the Sheriff. One of the most important issues is the crime that affects our citizens. We want to stop the victimization of our citizens and keep our County and citizens safe. To do this we need to be vigilant in our duties each day. We have to recruit and retain adequate staff.
Our young people are facing issues, such as drugs, alcohol, vaping, opiate addiction, etc. I work closely with our young people to educate them on these dangers. I want them to make good choices, be productive in life, but most of all I want them to be safe.
I have to make sure the daily operations of the Sheriff’s Office and Jail are carried out each day. When issues arise in the jail pertaining to inmates, we have to make sure these issues are handled immediately. We want to always insure the safety and well-being of the jail staff and the inmates.
I also am responsible for the safety and security of the Courthouse. We are quick to handle any issues that come up that would affect our court system and the safety and security of the people in the courthouse.
I am proud of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office/Jail staff and the work they do each day. Law enforcement is not an easy job. We all step up each day to face the issues that arise.
--Tell voters a little about yourself and your background:
I started my career with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office in 1985 as a Radio Operator. In 1987 I was sent to the Northeast Georgia Police Academy and became a Deputy Sheriff-Certified Peace Officer for the State of Georgia. In 1988 I was promoted to Major over the Jail Division and remained there for a year. In 1989 I left the Sheriff’s Office for a position with the State of Georgia, Department of Corrections. In 1992 I lateral transferred to the Georgia State Patrol as a Radio Operator. In 1993 I returned to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and worked a year as a Deputy Sheriff on the road. In 1994 I was assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division, where I worked for 19 years, specializing in crimes against children and other general criminal investigations.
In 2012, I started my campaign to run for Sheriff and was elected in August. I took office in January 2103, starting my first term as Sheriff. I ran for my second term and was elected in November 2016. I am now seeking my third term as Sheriff.
My husband Jerry and I, along with our grandson Jayden, live in the Holly Springs community of North Jackson County.
I am humbled and blessed to have been elected Sheriff in Jackson County. It is truly an honor. My top priority will always be to serve the people.