Sheriff's race crowded with contenders - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Sheriff's race crowded with contenders

July 16, 2004

Americus-- The Democratic race for Sheriff of Sumter County is crowded with contenders.

Incumbent Bob Ingle says his first term has been a success, but he's battled a shrinking budget.

His opponents say the Sheriff doesn't work well with county leaders.

It seems every bit of green in Sumter County is covered with colorful political sings, "A lot of the community has become very active and supportive," says Ingle.

Sheriff Bob Ingle says he has kept many of his campaign promises--like making the office more people friendly, "I have continued to have my phone number listed in the local phone book so I get calls at home day and night."

He's also implemented programs in the schools and the neighborhoods, but says severe budget cuts by the county commission have forced him to downsize in other areas, "We have had to reduce the patrol section, so we are not getting as good as a response time as we desire."

"He butts heads with the county commission, in 2001 he sued the county commission and taxpayers of Sumter County," says candidate James Driver.

The former deputy left the Sumter S.O. in September to run against his former boss, "You have to work with the county commissioners. You have to look after the people in Sumter County. If the money is not there, the money is not there. You provide the services that are available, that you can."

Another candidate thinks he is the answer, "I have been a county commissioner five and a half years now," says Terrance Bryant.

Bryant, who is currently an Albany police officer, says he understands budgets and law enforcement. He says there are ways to work effectively with a smaller budget, "Instead of having law enforcement officers in one position for so many years I feel cross training would be a vital part in their success. It is also an asset to Sumter County taxpayers."

It seems the good of Sumter County taxpayers is at the heart of this contentious race.

There is a fourth candidate, Joe Sosnovik, running for Sheriff on the Democratic ticket. We were not able to locate the Leslie Police Officer for an interview.

The primary winner will face Republican candidate Pete Smith.

Independent candidate Nelson Brown is waiting verification on his signatures before he can get on the ballot.

Posted at 4:10 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com