Posted: Friday, June 29th 2012 at 11:24am
Elections 2012: Jeff Strickland
By Ken Stanford Staff
NAME: Jeff Strickland
POLITICAL PARTY AFFILIATION: Republican
OCCUPATION: Retired Colonel/Chief Deputy of the Hall County Sheriff’s Office (28 Years of Service)
1) Why are you running for this office?
Law enforcement has been a lifelong passion for me. One of my earliest recollections as a young boy was a desire to be in law enforcement. When I was finishing school, I was able to complete an internship with the Hall County Sheriff’s Office. That insight into Law Enforcement confirmed what I already knew in my heart. I began my career at the Hall County Sheriff’s Office in 1983 and over the next 28 years worked my way through the ranks to Chief Deputy second in command under Sheriff Steve Cronic.
Once Sheriff Cronic made his decision to not seek re-election, I realized that his decision would affect my career as well. I began to explore my options and discuss the matter with my wife and family. One thing was clear. I was not ready to stop serving the citizens of Hall County. I still had the passion and heart for service to help others. My career had been meaningful and I felt I had made a difference in our community.
After prayerful thought, I made the decision to seek the Office of Sheriff in Hall County. With the full support and encouragement of my wife, my family, many friends and colleagues, I moved forward with my decision. I know that I possess the experience and knowledge needed to serve as Sheriff and feel I have much more to contribute and can continue to make a positive difference in our community.
I want to take the successes of the past and build on them in the future. I would like the opportunity to lead the Hall County Sheriff’s Office in the most progressive and professional manner possible while providing quality law enforcement services in the most economical means possible.
2) Is the first time you have run for political office? (If "no,"please explain.)
Yes, this is my first campaign for elective office.
3) What qualifications for the office do you bring to the campaign?
Most importantly, I bring to this campaign 28 years of proven progressive law enforcement experience and a lifetime of commitment to the citizens of Hall County.
During my 28 years, I have served under three different Sheriffs. I have served as the Captain of the Uniform Patrol Division, the Major of the Police Services Division, and as the Colonel and Chief Deputy of the Hall County Sheriff’s Office. Serving in these executive command positions gives me the in depth, experience, and knowledge required to lead what has become one of the largest and busiest Sheriff’s Offices in the State of Georgia. No other candidate possesses this experience.
I have faced many challenges. I have witness some of the most significant changes in law enforcement history. I have walked through the cell blocks of the Hall County Jail at four in the morning, stood on the scene of homicides, and searched for missing children. I have responded to alarms and domestic calls with back up miles away. I have witnessed the destruction of deadly tornadoes, and stood on the banks of Lake Lanier as our divers searched for drowning victims.
I have been involved in and been a driving force behind many of the Sheriff’s Office successes:
State certification and national accreditation
The creation of the Teen Driver Education program
The Sheriff’s Office K-9 program
In car computers
Creation of the Crime Suppression Unit
Enhanced neighborhood watch program
Three years of reduced burglaries
Five years without an unsolved homicide
The 287(g) program
A 42% reduction in gang membership
I am committed to the safety of our most precious resources, our children. I am a staunch supporter of the 5th grade ADVANCE program (Avoiding Drugs, Violence, and Negative Choices Early). Sheriff Cronic and I took the time to attend every graduation and shook the hands of over 22,000 students as they graduated from the ADVANCE program. I raised funds from private donors to buy drug detection dogs that were placed in our high schools to keep them safe and drug free. I was instrumental in creating a drug reward program in the Hall County School System, a program that paid a reward using seized drug funds to students who provided information that helped rid their school of drugs.
I am proud of the accomplishments and experience I have gained but there is still room for improvement. I hope to take the successes I have mentioned above and build on them in the future. Utilizing my 28 years of proven law enforcement experience and knowledge, I feel I have the tools required to successfully lead the Hall County Sheriff’s Office in future.
4) What do you see as the biggest concern/issue facing the office?
The biggest concern facing the Hall County Sheriff’s Office will always be the safety of our community and families. To keep the community safe, the Sheriff’s Office provides a full array of law enforcement functions. As a full service Sheriff's Office, we are responsible for the delivery of all police services in the county. This includes, but is not limited to providing uniformed deputies to patrol the county, answer calls for service, as well as detectives to investigate a wide array of criminal activity. The Sheriff’s Office also manages one of the largest jails in North Georgia and is responsible for the security of the courthouse.
Keeping Hall County safe is our biggest issue, and is made more difficult in tough economic times. The Sheriff’s Office must do more with less. The Sheriff’s Office will continue to deal with employee issues such as furloughs and retirement benefits as well as the need to replace aging patrol cars. There will be other tough decisions that must be made as well, but I believe the men and women of the Hall County Sheriff’s Office all share in a common goal to keep the citizens of Hall County Safe. We must provide for our employees so they can protect us.
If elected Sheriff you can be assured that my number one priority will be to keep this community that we all love safe. I will also work to eliminate the furlough days for our employees and work tirelessly to find ways to fund the replacement of worn out patrol cars. I will do this without raising the Sheriff’s Office budget or causing a tax increase.
5) Do you favor continued participation in the federal governments 287(g) program, which allows specially trained deputies to enforce federal immigration law? And, please explain your answer.
I do support the Sheriff’s Office participation in the 287(g) program, and if elected Sheriff will continue this partnership with the Department of Homeland Security.
While many people expressed the need to do something about illegal immigration, Sheriff Cronic and I took action. After learning about the 287(g) program we met with officials from the Department of Homeland Security and were able to implement the 287(g) program in Hall County. By using existing staff we were able to bring the program into the jail without additional costs.
After implementing the 287(g) program, we began to see a reduction of illegal immigrants in Hall County. We saw a reduction in the volume of illegal drugs coming into Hall County. We saw a 42 percent reduction in documented gang membership. This program has contributed heavily to the quality of life we enjoy in Hall County and must be continued.
6) Do you favor continued use of the county jail, as long as space is available, to house out-of-county inmates as a revenue producer? And, please explain your answer.
This is a complex issue that has many ramifications to the Hall County taxpayer.
In the current economic climate, the revenue produced by housing out-of county inmates has been significant. In past years the program has generated over six million dollars per year. County finance records, as confirmed in independent county audits, indicate the program has produced over 21 million dollars in revenue over the last four years.
This program has contributed much needed revenue to the county, most likely prevented huge cuts to public safety, and just as important, possibly prevented a tax increase.
The Sheriff’s Office understands the importance of this issue and has continued the program to provide critical revenue to the county as well as to protect the taxpayer from increased taxes.
I don’t think the new Sheriff will have a choice in this important matter due to its impact on the taxpayer. As long as there is available space in the jail and there is a demand from other counties for the service, we must continue to house these inmates and generate the much needed revenue.
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