During the last five months of my campaign, I have been asked many questions from the running of the Sheriff’s Office to how the community will be protected to working with mental health. As promised, every question is answered, no matter how challenging or uncomfortable for me. The following six questions are the most frequently asked and I feel the public as a whole needs to know the answers as well.
What makes you qualified to be the next Sheriff of Clarke County?
Prior to being a law enforcement officer, I spent nearly 10 years in the United States Marine Corps starting at the age of 17. By the time I turned 19, I was leading a team of 15 Marines. As a Marine, we are required to attend various leadership classes prior to being promoted to E-4 including the “Marine Non-Commissioned Officer”. My last duty station, prior to discharge, I held a Staff Non-Commissioned Officer position, leading a team of approximately 40 Marines. I have been a law enforcement officer for approximately 17 years. I’ve worked 13 years of that in a correctional setting. I have worked in a private prison contracted with the Federal Bureau of Prisons as the Director of Security. I have worked with the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice in Gainesville as a Sergeant. I have also worked with the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office starting in the Jail, later transferred to Courthouse Security and the Warrants/Civil section. The last two years, I was a Sergeant in the Jail leading approximately 23 deputies and civilians. I have also completed various leadership training classes to include, but not limited to: ACCUG Supervisory Skills Training, ACCUG Management Skills Training, ACCUG Peak Academy, FBI-LEEDA Supervisor Leadership Institute, Analytical Leadership 1 & 2, Analytical Interviewing, and General Instructor Training. Educationally, I have earned my Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Columbia Southern University and earning my Juris Master’s in American Legal Studies from Liberty University School of Law. The Clarke County Jail is the highest liability for the agency, therefore, the Sheriff should have some knowledge and experience in its operation. Not only do I have the experience, I have a plan that can be implemented the very day I take office. The picture below compares the experience between both candidates.
How will your agency hire and invest in training if elected?
Unfortunately, the Sheriff’s Office has been short staffed for a number of years. The best and only solution is recruitment. A permanent recruitment team is needed and when I take office, it will be a priority to recruit, properly and continually educate, cultivate, and retain all team members. That team will be attached to the Training Department, supervised by a Sergeant with the entire section supervised by a Lieutenant. The entire program of the Training Department will be reviewed. It is my intention to bring in more live training within the agency. We have approximately 10 certified instructors (11 when I’m elected) with the agency and there is no reason why more training courses can’t be offered. I will also seek within the Sheriff’s Office team, those individuals that have the ability and skills to become future members of the training team and cultivate them. It is also my intention to seek internal as well as outside resources to provide the most thorough and up-to-date training for the Sheriff’s Office team and the community. This will improve the deputy’s level of job performance so they can become more confident in their ability to perform that job function. Training is extremely important and will never be ignored under my leadership.
How will you address mental health issues in the jail and community?
Mental health is a very important issue within any correctional facility. I plan to form or strengthen relationships with mental health facilities in order for our mental health inmates to receive the treatment they deserve. I believe that there should be a mental health worker in the Jail 24/7 and it is my plan to make that happen. That worker should be able to verify prescribed medications the very minute an arrestee enters the Jail. This way, if the individual is not released from custody the same day, he/she can start receiving their medications without delay. Also, by working with the various facilities, when the individual(s) is released from custody, they have appointments already made and if need be, medication prescription written. It will also be our policy to keep in contact with that individual after release, to ensure they make their appointments and are doing well.
How will policy support your mission and values?
Once I take office and begin implementing my plans, I will coordinate with the Leadership Team to review and update all policies as an ongoing process. Many of those policies haven’t been updated for years. Law enforcement has changed over the years and agency policies need to reflect those changes. It will be my intention to compare the policies with current laws, both State and Federal, to ensure legal compliance. Once all of the policies are reviewed, updated and/or rescinded, all members will get a copy for their review and reference. All new officers will be trained on policy early in the process. As a matter of transparency, the general public will have access to our policies as they are updated as well.
What programs and processes support accountability?
I believe that individuals should be held accountable for their actions; not only for the people housed in our Jail, but the officers/civilians tasked with their supervision and community involvement. If something occurs in the Jail that involves the inmates (i.e. major fight or riot), the public will be informed of the incident along with any action taken. If that housing unit or the entire facility is placed on lockdown, the public will be advised immediately. This should prevent any family member from coming to the Jail for visitation unnecessarily. If one of the deputies are involved in any wrongdoing that can tarnish the image of our agency and the profession, the public will be advised after the investigation is complete, including any action taken.
What data will you provide to paint a clearer picture of the work that deputies do each day?
Currently, every deputy is assigned a body camera, except the Courthouse Deputies. Those cameras will be checked for serviceability to ensure they perform the functions paid for. If needed, upgrades will take place or proper replacements will be researched. Body worn cameras are vital in this era of law enforcement for two reasons: 1) protection of the officer and/or community member, and 2) documentation of accurate information as to what happened during any incident. If camera footage needs to be presented to the community, that entire footage will be presented. And if that footage is presented by other sources (media, social media, etc.), then I will ensure the correct information is sent out immediately. If one of my deputies is in the wrong, then myself as a community leader, will admit that wrongdoing.
Any member of the community can ask me a question anytime via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, website at hare4sheriff.com/contact, or any of my social media platforms
Hare, a Republican, will be facing off against Democratic sheriff candidate Athens-Clarke County police Sgt. John Q. Williams in November's election .