Embattled sheriff has wide support - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Embattled sheriff has wide support

March 17, 2006

Douglas -- As controversy surrounding Coffee County sheriff Rob Smith continues, he got support today from some of his constituents. Sources say Smith remains under investigation, accused of misusing his power as sheriff.

Even the governor's office expected Smith to resign this week, but his supporters don't want to see that happen.

Friday, many of them took to the street in Douglas in a last ditch effort to save the sheriff's job.

"We love Rob, we love Rob." Nearly 100 supporters line the street in front of the Coffee County Jail with signs, their message clear: "Up with Rob, up with Rob."

"God put him here in office and it's going to be God that moves him out,"Collin McQueen. "We're going to fight and fight as long as it takes." We know county leaders are considering a severance package for Smith if he resigns.

That has his supporters fuming. "It's an insult, a complete outrage, for them to try and throw him out." "For the last five years, he has been the best sheriff we have ever had," said Nora Corbitt.

And they don't believe he abused his power by improperly handling juror summons, arrest warrants, and speeding tickets. "I have someone that works very close in the sheriff's office, and she serves warrants everyday," Corbitt said. "I have seen snakes as sheriff, and that man's not one."

Instead, they say he's a man who looks after the people. "Anytime we need him, he's there. I have some boys, and they have been in trouble and Rob has been there," said Rosetta Shields.

They say ousting Smith from office is politically motivated. "Those that want him out and are without any kind of sin, let them cast the first stone."

Sheriff Smith remains hospitalized with pneumonia. His friends say as he recovers, they'll continue to fight to save his job.

The sheriff's brother-in-law says Smith is heavily-medicated and has not announced whether he'll resign.

Superior Court judges in the district that includes Coffee County told county leaders not to talk about the issue.

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