What is law enforcement’s role in the pandemic? What’s the most pressing need for the LCSO? What quality makes for a good sheriff? These questions and more were posed to Jack Jones and Stacy Jarrard as they face off for the office of Lumpkin County Sheriff.
The candidates’ responses appear below, following a short introduction of both.
The winning contender will be decided in the General Primary which will take place June 9. Early voting begins next Monday.
Incumbent Stacy Jarrard is running for his fourth term as county sheriff. Jarrard has been in law enforcement since 1988, most of that time in Lumpkin County.
Under his leadership the department obtained State Accreditation for Sheriff’s Offices in Georgia, as well as Medical Accreditation for the Detention Center.
Jarrard serves on numerous professional boards, holding office several times as a member of the Georgia Sheriffs Association. He currently serves as president. He is also the past-president of the Georgia Sheriffs Youth Home.
Jarrard is active in the community, serving as a member of Family Connection, NOA and the South Enotah Child Advocacy Center boards.
Jarrard said he is running for a fourth term to “continue to be a public servant to the community. That’s been my heart my entire life.
Jones began his law enforcement career in Lumpkin County in 1998. He has since worked in Hall County and the Clarksville Police Department, where he is presently employed.
Throughout his law enforcement career, Jones has owned and operated Horizon Pools. He also has a cattle farm and hay business, as well as a bee business.
Jones placed in the top five in multiple triathlons between 2010 and 2012. He also competed in the Police and Fire Games, winning first place in the Tough Cop division. Additionally he competed in the National Rifle Association three gun match, placing first in Georgia and third nationally while serving with Hall County. He also apprehended two escaped prisoners, chasing them down on foot after a three-day manhunt.
“I have not taken my decision to run for the office of sheriff lightly,” he said. “I had the opportunity to witness an incident involving a young man who was shielded from accountability from legal action because of his political connections. I raised objections, and when they went unheard, I determined to make a difference in law enforcement in my own community.”
Jones has specified that this event did not occur in Lumpkin County.
Q: What do you think should be the role of law enforcement in enforcing local pandemic measures?
Jarrard: “Our role is to assist Public Health, to educate the public and pass on information. Social distancing or too many people gathering, those are not arrestable or finable offenses. They are only CDC guidelines. The sheriffs, GSP and GBI have been instructed to report those complaints to the health department, and they would let us know if a citation was warranted.”
Jones: “I think our job is to lead by example. Deputies should wear masks, and social distance when possible. Of course, if you’re arresting somebody you have to put your hands on them. But all you can do as sheriff is confront and request, being empathetic and uplifting about it—and do it in good faith. Not everyone can afford to buy masks. It would be helpful to be able to give masks out to people not wearing them.”
Q: What do you think is the most important skill of being a good sheriff?
Jarrard: “Knowing how to treat people and being respectful, open minded and always listening to what someone has to say. You have to have the right personality to deal fairly with people.”
Jones: “I think you have to treat the community like your family. You have a responsibility to serve and protect the community. You have to love and care for the community and the people in it just like you do your family.”
Q: What do you think is the biggest need of the department and how would you go about filling it?
Jarrard: “I’d like to see a higher pay scale and lower insurance costs. I think the Board of Commissioners has always tried to keep us competitive, but when we do a salary study and get even with surrounding counties, those counties do one too and we’re right back where we started.”
Jones: “We need more deputies to cut down on response time. I think the best way to accomplish that is a better hiring system and a more efficient way of allocating the budget.”
Q: What makes you a good candidate for the office?
Jarrard: “I’ve been in law enforcement 32 years—my entire adult life, and I’ve truly enjoyed it. I have the spirit of a public servant. I’m thankful for that.
“I’ve got a good working relationship with the Board of Commissioners, and that’s important. You have to be able to work things out.
“I’ve come in under budget for each of the 12 years I’ve served.
“I’m open-minded. I’m willing to have an open dialog no matter who it’s with. I believe I’m fair and honest.
“I’m there every day and answer the phone every time it rings. When someone reaches out because they need something or have a problem, I’m here for the community—whether it's to work traffic for a funeral or listen to a complaint.
“My door is always open, and I want to continue to serve this community.”
Jones: “Hard work, honesty and integrity are my guiding principles. I want to improve relations with the community, building bridges with the local businesses and connect law enforcement with other government entities.
“I want to improve the working environment and equity within the department.
“I want to serve the community who has given so much to me and hopefully improve on the way law enforcement serves in a positive and proactive way. I believe the principles that have guided me throughout my life can be beneficial to that endeavor.”