Berrien Co. holds forum for sheriff candidates - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Berrien Co. holds forum for sheriff candidates

4 candidates are on the election ballot for Berrien County Sheriff (Source: WALB) 4 candidates are on the election ballot for Berrien County Sheriff (Source: WALB)
3 of the 4 candidates are hoping to finish out Heath's term. (Source: WALB) 3 of the 4 candidates are hoping to finish out Heath's term. (Source: WALB)
Melanie Ray, elections supervisor (Source: WALB) Melanie Ray, elections supervisor (Source: WALB)
Barry McMillan, Berrien County resident (Source: WALB) Barry McMillan, Berrien County resident (Source: WALB)
From left to right, Sheriff Ray Paulk, Frank Swanson, and Rick Brown. (Source: WALB) From left to right, Sheriff Ray Paulk, Frank Swanson, and Rick Brown. (Source: WALB)
BERRIEN CO., GA (WALB) -

Folks in Berrien County are talking with sheriff candidates in a forum with the 4 candidates that will be on the ballot. 

The forum is unique because there are actually 4 people on the ballot instead of two. 

That's because the republican nominee, former Sheriff Anthony Heath, came off the ballot after he was indicted for violating civil rights.

Wednesday, we brought you news about his sentencing hearing. 

Now, community members can ask the potential sheriffs what they would do differently. 

With signs up at every corner, you can tell it's election season. 

And for Berrien County, this ballot will look a little different. 

"We have 4 candidates on the ballot," said Melanie Ray, elections supervisor. 

Those candidates are Sheriff Ray Paulk, Ben Davis, Frank Swanson, and Rick Brown. 

The Chamber of Commerce is hosting the forum so folks can learn more about each candidate. 

"This is a chance for voters to come out and ask specific questions to each of them," said Ray. 

"It gives the public the opportunity to not only hear your answers, but ask the questions. They have input as well," said current sheriff, Ray Paulk. 

Barry McMillan said he wants to know about training and how the department will spend tax payer dollars. He said asking questions directly to the candidates is helpful. 

"You get a personal feel for each candidate in this forum," said McMillan. 

And Paulk said those are questions he wants to answer. 

"We're highly trained and we're going to continue to train. And good, morale, ethic character is going to be instilled in each and every one of us," said Paulk. 

Some said it's a forum that could help undecided voters. 

"Even if they hadn't made a decision, it may help them to make a decision on a candidate," said McMillian. 

One thing people should know when they go to vote is that they are going to see the candidates on the ballot twice.

All four will be running for the full four year term, and three of the candidates will be running to finish out the 2 months left on Anthony Heath's term.

Meeting the candidates

Rick Brown said if elected he would put all employees on probation for a short time for assessment and put officers through more training. 

"See how they work and perform. See if they need to stay in the position that they're at or if they need to be moved around," said Brown.

Frank Swanson said he would be a working sheriff. He says he has an extensive background in narcotics which he would use to crack down on drugs.

"I would be in the streets, out in the field helping the guys do their job. Also, be very accessible to the public," 

We also reached out to Ben Davis, but we have not heard back from him yet. 

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