"I come from a strong family that has been involved with public service for as long as I can remember. I want to work for you! I have served 14 years as an investigator, handling Homicide, Special Victims (Crimes against Children/Elderly), Burglary, General Crimes, and multiple high-profile cases, resulting in arrests and convictions. I am a tested leader and was promoted through the ranks where I made the rank of Lieutenant, serving as a supervisor in investigations, at the police precincts, and Code Enforcement. “With three decades of government experience in Gwinnett County, I know what it takes to find solutions, build trust with the community through transparency, and get things done.”
LIST OF ISSUES
287(g) FEDERAL PROGRAM IN GWINNETT
As a Gwinnett County Police Officer and administrator as Asst. Chief of Police, I have never been a part of enforcing 287g in Gwinnett County and have opposed it since it’s inception by Sheriff Conway in November 2009. The Gwinnett County Police Department has never enforced 287g as a departmental policy and is not deputized by ICE. Only the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office is deputized and authorized by the current Sheriff and ICE to engage in 287g enforcement.
I pledge to put an end to 287G in Gwinnett County.
Gwinnett County had more 287(g) encounters than any other jurisdiction nationwide in 2017, accounting for 20% of all deportations that resulted from the program. ICE deported almost 6,000 undocumented immigrants that same year, through the program, with 653 of those deportations from Gwinnett County alone. It drives a wedge between local law enforcement and immigrant communities, making unauthorized immigrants fearful of reporting crimes.
It destroys families, creating more hardships for children and spouses left behind. Children living in mixed-status families (ONE PARENT MAY BE LEGAL, BUT THE OTHER ISN’T) are particularly vulnerable after a parent’s detention and deportation, which most often results in the loss of the family’s primary earner.
287(g) creates transient communities as there are no ties in the community and property values suffer. Of 159 Counties in the State of Georgia, only 7 agencies participate in the program. All of their contracts are up for renewal on June 30, 2019 (Bartow, Cobb, Floyd, Ga. Dept. of Corrections, Gwinnett, Hall, and Whitfield Counties). Advocates also cite civil rights abuses with 287(g), widespread racial profiling, discrimination against Latinos, and targeting of populations with no criminal history or safety threat.
Immigration enforcement is a civil law matter, not criminal. Holding people in criminal custody for a civil infraction violates the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable seizures. And, when the federal government demands that a local jurisdiction hold immigrants past when they should be released, those demands violate the 10th Amendment by forcing states to do the federal government’s bidding. Federal judges have also found that holding immigrants who don’t face criminal charges for more than 48 hours is also unconstitutional. This is true for local law enforcement officials whether or not they participate in 287(g). The program has proved costly for localities that agree to dedicate resources, training, and manpower to its implementation; ICE only covers partial costs. This is a waste of taxpayer's money to do the Federal Government's job!
Immigration Enforcement (287(g) program: $2 million (Gwinnett S.O. requested for 2019 budget).
SAFETY & COMMUNITY
A community is stronger when its citizens are informed and involved. I want our residents to feel comfortable interacting with law enforcement so that trust exists when you need our help fighting crime in your neighborhoods and removing those who would disrupt Gwinnett citizen’s quality of life.
I am also extremely committed to the safety of the men and women of the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office. I will ensure our deputies always have the best training and equipment available to keep themselves and this community protected.
BAIL BOND REFORM
I pledge to work with the Gwinnett County Judges and State Legislators on criminal justice reform. The hope is to alleviate the sense that the justice system is unfairly imprisoning those who are poor, homeless or have mental issues. This can be achieved by Signature Bond/ Own Recognizance Bond on fines of $500 or less on non-violent and other strictly enforced charges. Supervising an offender on parole costs Georgia taxpayers an average of $4.43 a day, compared with $46 a day to house someone in prison. This will reduce the inmate population and save taxpayers money.
I support tougher sentences and higher bonds on people committing violent crimes, and domestic family violence crimes against women, children, and the elderly, to protect those who can’t defend themselves.
RECIDIVISM & REHABILITATION
I pledge to work with local and non-profit community groups and organizations to provide job skills and support programs to reduce recidivism. I will work with animal control to provide rehabilitation animals for inmates and subsequent adoption to the public to save human and animal lives.
DETENTION CENTER MENTAL HEALTH REFORM
As your elected Sheriff I pledge to provide fair and humane treatment for all who are detained. This also includes training deputies with the assistance of Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness during the booking process. Proper assessment and distribution of resources will reduce recidivism and the countless lawsuits against the Sheriff’s Department potentially costing Gwinnett taxpayers millions of dollars.
I will ensure that deputies are better equipped to deescalate problems by understanding the intersectionality between previous trauma and the “trigger” of confinement. Proper training and education will make it less likely for deputies to forcibly interact with detained persons for perceived “bad behavior” which may be nothing more than mental illness manifesting. This will reduce the potential for injuries to staff and detainee alike.
As the Sheriff of Gwinnett County, I will rebuild the relationships with County and Municipal law enforcement Chiefs and take the leadership role in implementing Community Outreach and law enforcement involvement with Gwinnett citizens in community events to humanize both law enforcement officers and the local community, to each other, and break down the walls of distrust, miscommunication, and fear of the “other.”