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Georgia Voter Guide

Produced by the League of Women Voters of Georgia

The 2016 Online Voter Guide is a non-partisan resource for voters in Georgia. The Georgia Voter Guide is a product of the League of Women Voters of Georgia and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The League and the AJC do not endorse candidates and thoroughly believe that voters should judge candidates based on their own merits, ideas and platforms. We work very hard to provide an intelligent, equitable forum where that can occur.

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Columbus-Muscogee County Sheriff

Run-off Advance Voting City Services Center Community Room 3111 Citizens Way Columbus, GA 31906 November 28th thru December 2nd 7:30am – 4:30pm Visit http://www.columbusga.org/elections/ for more information

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  • John T. Darr
    (I)

  • Candidate picture

    Donna Tompkins
    (Dem)

Biographical Information

Describe your education, training, and experience that qualify you for this position.

What will be your top two priorities during your term of office and how will you address them?

In Georgia, some sheriffs draw a straight salary from a budget regulated by the County Commission, other Sheriffs are in control of their own budget and salary, the funds of which are made up from court fees and penalties, and still others combine a salary with a percentage of the fees. What, in your opinion, is the appropriate funding mechanism for the sheriff’s salary?

What special action would you take to promote good county-city law enforcement relationships?

What is the top law enforcement challenge in your area, and if elected, how would you address it?

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I have worked for the Muscogee County Sheriff's Office for 31 years. I started as a civilian employee and retired at the rank of Captain over Administration. I have a Masters degree in Public Administration, a BA in Criminal Justice and I am a graduate of the Georgia Law Enforcwment Command College. I also received a national Professional Human Resources certification. I have served in every area of the agency and have a unique perspective of its strengths and weaknesses. I understand the importance of community partnerships while focusing on the constitutional mission of the Office.
My top priority will be to rebuild relationships with our elected officials, law enforcement agencies and bring about a reasonable balanced budget that is mission oriented. To accomplish this task I will be participating in every meeting that concerns the office of the Sheriff. I will work with other leaders and come to the table with vision, ideas and a willingness to listen.
I can only speak to how the Sheriff's salary is handled in Muscogee county. Here it is funded by the county. However there have been mandatory increases based on the size of the population as established by the latest census. I do understand that smaller counties may not have the same resources that larger counties have. It seems fair to base the salary on the population size. It seems unfair to receive a salary based on the number of citations issued.
Columbus is a consolidated government. We have one police department and one Sheriff's Office. While we have separate distinct functions in Muscogee County we must work together to address community concerns regarding crime. If elected Sheriff I will rebuild the broken relationship with the Columbus Police Department and be active with them in community forums and events.
I believe like most cities across the country we face similar challenges with budget concerns, officer retention, and concern from the citizens about crime. In Muscogee county as Sheriff I would first need to operate the office within a reasonable budget. The current administration is on track to exceed it's budget around 13 million dollars in the last 8 years. First we must set our own house in order. Second I will work with city leaders to develop a pay structure that will help with officer retention. Lastly I will partner with the Columbus police department in addressing crime as well as reaching out into the community. Crime is not a simple problem with a simple solution. The community must work together to find strategies that will work. In Columbus we have a big problem with juvenile crime. This is the area where the community must come together to address the problem.