Choir sings his praisesTimes news video
DAHLONEGA – New Lumpkin County Sheriff Stacy Jarrard had more than five months since his Republican primary victory to prepare for the biggest job of his life.
“I’m ready,” Jarrard said Wednesday shortly after taking the oath of office in front of an overflow audience at the Lumpkin County Courthouse.
Before raising his right hand to be sworn in, Jarrard attended a four-week training course in Forsyth for newly-elected sheriffs, assembled his command staff and hammered out the department’s new standard operating procedures. He met with the sheriffs of neighboring Hall and White counties to gain insight on how they run their offices.
Jarrard also met briefly Wednesday morning with his predecessor and former opponent, one-term incumbent Sheriff Mark McClure, at McClure’s invitation.
Jarrard, 40, won big over McClure in a campaign in which Jarrard vowed a shakeup in the senior command staff and said he aimed to “return the sheriff’s office to the community.”
And while Jarrard, a former Lumpkin County sheriff’s investigator and DARE instructor, has made personnel changes, he says overall turnover in the 82-employee office has been low since his election.
“There have been very few employees, maybe six, that have left since July, and none by my choosing,” Jarrard said. He said he promoted most of his senior staff from within the existing ranks and brought only two new employees with him, both Lumpkin County residents.
New Chief Deputy Mike Ramsey worked at the sheriff’s office for at least 10 years before leaving the office during the McClure administration, just as Jarrard did. New jail commander Ryan Scott is a Lumpkin County resident who worked previously at the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office.
Jarrard said some of his new policies will be implemented immediately. He is expanding the three-zone patrol map to five zones and has restructured the patrol division in order to have a deputy patrolling each zone.
His new burglary suppression unit will be in operation by Jan. 3, Jarrard said.
In the near future, Jarrard wants to honor some other campaign promises by expanding educational programs in Lumpkin County schools and beginning work on having his office accredited by the state, a process that could take a year or longer.
“I want that in place as swiftly as possible,” Jarrard said of accreditation. “It will greatly improve the functions of the sheriff’s office.”
“I look forward to serving the people of this community, and bringing the sheriff’s office back to the community,” Jarrard said.