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Jones back in the saddle for DeKalb sheriff’s race
by LaTria Garnigan
February 25, 2014 10:29 AM | 5234 views | 1 1 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Special Photo / Vernon Jones speaks to a crowd of supporters during a campaign stop last week at Courthouse Square in downtown Decatur.
Special Photo / Vernon Jones speaks to a crowd of supporters during a campaign stop last week at Courthouse Square in downtown Decatur.
The DeKalb County Sheriff’s race is heating up with six candidates: Dale Collins, Vernon Jones, Tony Hughes, Melvin Mitchell, Melody Maddox and Jeffrey Mann.

Last week Jones, a former two-term DeKalb County CEO and former legislator in the Georgia House of Representatives, formally laid out his plans for the upcoming sheriff’s race.

On why he decided to run, Jones referred to his mother who he said pushed him to re-enter the public service arena.

With the sheriff’s office being vacated, as Sheriff Thomas Brown is running for Georgia’s fourth congressional district, Jones said he saw an opportunity.

“Having been CEO, having run the largest police department in the county — coming over to sheriff was like coming over again as an administrator,” said Jones. “The sheriff manages the courthouse and jail.”

He touted his management experience of being the county’s CEO as a natural fit for the sheriff’s post.

“I would go from running the whole ship, to running part of a ship,” said Jones. “So in this case I’ll just be running the sheriff’s office.”

Jones pledges to be “tough on crime,” having been disturbed at recent news headlines involving the county.

“There has to be a war declared on crime … I’m sick of DeKalb County making the news every evening,” he said. “We got a problem and because of the new cities the DeKalb County Police Department is not having a surplus of officers — there’s a role for the sheriff’s office to step up and support law enforcement agencies.”

Jones said when he left the county, he left it “safer, greener and cleaner.”

“I love my county … I’ve been here 30 years and DeKalb is at a crossroads now,” he said. “It needs good leadership and there is no time for on-the-job training. I have a solid record of accomplishments — efficiency and effectiveness, new technology, infrastructure improvements — and so this office is too critical for on-the-job training especially when crime is taking place.”

There are several initiatives he said he plans to campaign on:
-to make sure deputies are adequately trained and equipped to protect themselves and the community
-see more involvement and support in augmenting and assisting all of the law enforcement agencies across the county
-see comprehensive programs with the school systems and target those at risk of being suspended to cut down on truancy and crimes being committed during the day
-ending crimes against seniors
-to be more engaged with code enforcement
-to see nonviolent offenders on the highways to clean up the county in work details.

While he has been out of the political arena for several years, Jones said he has received support from law enforcement officers, youth and seniors.

“I think my solid record of accomplishments is what propels me over the others,” he said.

“I know DeKalb and DeKalb knows me. None of the others have a record of running a large government, an efficient government and a large police department.”

On if he still has that support base from when he first ran for office in DeKalb, Jones said having been out of office, the public can now see the value of his administration and what he accomplished compared to now.

“Everywhere I go, I get ‘we miss you, we want you back,’” he said.

“Now people really see my effective leadership, the things we had during my administration. Things are disassembling, but DeKalb’s greatest day is still ahead. It’s too critical to take a chance on someone that no one knows in that sheriff’s office.”

Jones’ campaign will include phone banking, social media, neighborhood meetings and going door-to-door visiting businesses and attending churches across the county.

-Facebook: vernonjones4sheriff
-Twitter: @VJones4Sheriff
-Campaign office: 3187 Glenwood Road in Decatur, (404) 957-3627

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