Embattled sheriff removed from office - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Embattled sheriff removed from office

By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

July 21, 2008

NEWTON, GA (WALB) - The state says Baker County Sheriff Isaac Anderson no longer meets the necessary requirements to hold the office. That's because his law enforcement certification was revoked in 2004, two years after he was acquitted of falsifying a report. 

Now the coroner is acting sheriff, and Anderson says he'll fight for his job.  

After turning in his gun and badge, Isaac Anderson quickly left the Sheriff's office he was ousted from Momday morning.  "No comment," he said.

Anderson didn't want to talk, but said he would be back.  "A few days-- I'm going to be coming back to office I'll talk to you."

So you plan on coming back? we asked "yeah."

So you're not done being sheriff?

"Naw. Not yet."

But according to the Georgia Peace officers standards and Training council Anderson is done as Sheriff. They revoked his law enforcement certification.

Anderson fought it all the way to the Georgia Supreme Court, but they upheld that revocation. Monday, probate judge Angela Hendricks received notice that the office of Sheriff was officially vacant.

"By operation of law, the office of Sheriff has been deemed vacant due to his certification being revoked by the Georgia Peace Officers association," she said. 

Now it's her job to appoint a replacement. "It might be a few days. It might be a few weeks."

In the meantime, Coroner Andy Belinc, who is also the EMA direcor, EMS director and fire chief, will also act as Sheriff. "Right now, I'm at a loss for words. I'm not sure. It happened fast so it's going to take time to sink in," he says.

Mac Jones says he doesn't understand how Anderson can be removed from office even though he was acquitted of writing a phony incident report back in 2002. That's the case the peace officer council used to revoke his certification. "Wasn't Ike acquitted of what they're kicking him out of office for? If he's acquitted it's supposed to be like being found not guilty, my understanding of the law," says Jones.

Anderson's attorney, Phil Cannon, says he plans to fight the removal of Anderson from office. It is their position that a jury should decide if he is qualified to serve as Sheriff.  

 Anderson's removal from office presents another problem. Right now he is the Democrat nominee for Sheriff. Probate Judge Angela Hendricks is also the elections supervisor and must decide if Anderson should be removed from the ballot.

If he is, the Democratic party of Georgia will have 24 hours to name a replacement for the November election.

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