Having been a former deputy in the vice and narcotics division of the Sheriff's Office under Clay Whittle, and now as a police officer with the Columbia County school system, I have worked with both candidates for sheriff.
Without reservation, I support Lewis Blanchard as the next sheriff. Our county needs strong leadership and a sheriff who will work closely with the school system and community to reduce drugs and other problems in Columbia County.
Whittle has reduced the number of officers in the vice and narcotics unit and completely done away with the drug interdiction unit, even though his budget has increased drastically over the past few years. ... It is no wonder that crime statistics related to drug activity in Columbia County have been lowered. If anyone actually thinks we now have fewer drug problems in our county, simply ask any teen-ager or school system employee.
The sheriff's response at the Grove-town debate was that we are doing everything we can do within the budget set forth by the county commissioners. Blanchard's answer, a proactive approach, was much better. He has vowed to reduce wasteful spending such as the sheriff eating out at the taxpayers' expense in excess of $3,000 last year alone in order to place the money into crime reduction and public safety.
Blanchard has vowed to reduce the supervisor-to-officer ratio in order to provide for more road patrol beat deputies and double our vice and narcotics unit. He has vowed to use the resources of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to beef up drug enforcement within our county without wasting taxpayers' dollars.
And, as the former public safety director for the school system, he will greatly improve the relationship between the departments and make sure we have the assistance needed to reduce drugs in our county.
Blanchard has a positive attitude and is a man of action. Simply put, he gets things accomplished. He will make an excellent sheriff for Columbia County and I urge you to support Blanchard for sheriff in the July 20 election.
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