LUMPKIN COUNTY, Ga. – The first time he campaigned for Lumpkin County Sheriff in 2008, Stacy Jarrard promised to turn the agency into one of the most professional sheriff’s offices in Georgia. Thirteen months later, Lumpkin County became only the 13th sheriff’s office to achieve state certification.
Promise made. Promise kept.
Now, Jarrard is seeking his fourth term in office and he has built quite a resume for himself and the agency. After 31 years of carrying a badge and gun, Jarrard, 52, was named President of the powerful Georgia Sheriff’s Association last year, giving Lumpkin County a strong voice among state legislators.
He has been voted Best Elected Official 11 years in a row and Best Law Enforcement Officer 12 consecutive years.
But Jarrard is most proud of the 95 employees of the Sheriff’s Office. “We train as hard as we can throughout the year,” he said. “The state of Georgia only requires law enforcement officers to have 20 hours of in-service training a year. We require 60 hours. I believe in being the best trained agency we can be.”
Despite their level of training and professionalism, Jarrard says, “I’m always worried about their safety. When the phone rings, you’re always concerned about what is going on, what has happened. It’s like sitting on an egg shell. You’re always wondering if it’s going to crack somewhere.”
Jarrard’s concern intensified in the Summer of 2018 when approximately 4,000 out-of-county people descended on Lumpkin County for the Rainbow Family of Living Light gathering then again one year later at a pro-Trump rally on the square.
“Both had a potential to be real problems,” Jarrard said. “I’m thankful both ended well. Whenever you’re putting a plan together in that type situation where there is a potential for loss of life or loss of property. There was a lot of sleepless nights for me leading up to both events because of so much friction. But, as sheriff, you have to stay neutral. You can’t take sides.”
Jarrard said he is also proud of the advancement in technology at the 911 Center. “Our 911 system is unbelievable. It is state-of-the-art with the technology we have there now and we’re working on a system that will allow the public to text 911.”
Asked about the challenge of the next few years, Jarrard said the budget is a concern.
“We still have some growing to do,” he said. More upgrades of equipment are needed at the Justice Center and the roof at the detention center is 20 years old. “We will have to start roof repairs soon. We also need to get the pay up and we need better insurance rates for our employees.”
As a constitutional officer, Jarrard recognizes that he is required to be a good steward of taxpayer dollars.
“Housing out-of-county inmates like we have done for years, brings money into the community to help offset taxes,” he said. “It’s important the sheriff has the mindset to do that. I have that mindset.” He estimates that the county receives between $400,000 and $600,000 annually.”
Jarrard serves the community in many other ways. He has served on the Boards of Enotah Family Drug Court Foundation, Child Fatality Review Board, Lumpkin County Family Connection and No One Alone: Family Violence.
He and wife Rebecca have been married 16 years and have three children, McKenzie, Briana and Luke.
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