Gainesville native Jon P. Strickland has thrown his hat into the Hall County sheriff’s race.
“I really see a progressive way I could do law enforcement in Hall County,” he said in an interview Sunday. “... And I mean everything from crime enforcement and traffic enforcement to how you motivate people and get people in (good physical) shape for quality of life.”
Strickland, 47, plans to run as a Republican to succeed Sheriff Steve Cronic, who has announced he will not seek re-election to a fourth four-year term. Cronic’s third term ends Dec. 31, 2012.
Strickland started working for the Gainesville Police Department before he had graduated from Gainesville High School in 1982. He worked at the department for about five years, then served in the Georgia State Patrol for 16 years.
While on the job, he was involved in a car wreck in which he shattered his right leg and lost 19 teeth.
“I had three surgeries on my right leg and I ... ended up retiring (from the state patrol),” he said. “... I actually have a video of that wreck.”
At the time, “I was building my first house and my wife was seven months pregnant with our first child,” Strickland said.
“That was an interesting time.”
These days, Strickland is working with another retired trooper, Jeff Kidd, who owns a company, Collision Specialists Inc.
“We work in about five states and we reconstruct fatal accidents,” Strickland said. “I have worked accidents all my life and I’m a certified accident reconstructionist.”
He said that he has spoken to Cronic about his interest in the office.
Strickland, who has created a website, jonpforsheriff.com, said he also has run the idea by others.
“The more people I went to, the more positive responses I got,” he said.
One thing he would like to stress, if elected, is physical fitness on the force.
“You look at these guys out there on the road. They work crazy hours, try to have a family and ... (many) have a second job,” Strickland said. “You try to figure out how to make all that fit in. What happens to a lot of people is they forget about their health.”
Also, he said he believes officers need to “look beyond the traffic ticket” when they pull people over for speeding or other offenses.
“Let’s find out if that dad is trying to work two jobs and has got a sick child at the hospital,” Strickland said. “These are real situations.”
Col. Jeff Strickland, the sheriff’s office’s chief deputy and spokesman, also has announced he is seeking the office. The two Stricklands aren’t related.