Coffee County elects new sheriff - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Coffee County elects new sheriff

August 9, 2006

Coffee County -- Voters elect a new Sheriff. He's a man with lots of ambition but no law enforcement experience.

He has more on his plans for the county and how some people in the community are responding.

Jerry Pope was a little surprised himself.

 "I didn't expect this many people to turn out and vote but I'm glad they did, I think the county spoke."

More than 4,000 people voted for him in last night's run-off election. Not even 3,000 voted for current Sheriff Joe White. Even some people in the community are surprised.

"I actually thought Joe White was going to win, it was actually a schock to me that Joe Pope was in the running," says voter Zoe Powell.

That's because Pope has no law enforcement experience, compared to White's 28 years in law enforcement. Powell says she voted for White because of Former Sheriff Rob Smith's recommendation.

 "I thought he was actually a good man and he's been in law enforcement for so many years and Mr. Rob appointed him, and I felt Mr. Rob had a lot in him so I figured if the Sherriff before hiim had a lot of trust, then he should ya know," Powell says.

But Smith himself resigned from Sheriff last April due to legal problems.

Coffee County Sheriff's Department has had a history of controversy from a Former Sheriff who killed himself to another indicted on malfeasance.

That's why Pope says the people put their trust in him to bring a change to politics and re-gain the public's trust.

"I just think it's time for a change. All my life Coffee County has had a little slant to it that people have talked about, whether its true or not I don't know, but suspicion is there," Pope says.

People like Powell say the voters have decided and its up to the community to come together in support.

"I think we need a lot of honesty so that when he talks to the people he's honest, don't have anything to hide."

And that's what Pople says he plans to provide. He says he already has the support of the Georgia Sheriff's Association. He wants to crack down on pedofiles, get rid of drug traffic, and place more drug prevention programs in schools.

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