As the runoff election draws near, you need to seriously think about who you want as your sheriff for the next four years. Sheriff Donny Turner has done many great things during his near 20-year tenure as sheriff. He has modernized the department, hired skilled deputies, increased drug eradication efforts and has been proactive with the youth programs he has implemented.
However, he also amassed a great amount of power during his time as sheriff, and that power has clouded his judgment and tarnished his badge.
Let’s look at the facts:
•He threatened to have a former employee fired from his current position because the employee was campaigning for his opponent.
•He used his own personal newsletter, the Troup County News, to malign his opponent, and used his influence with the publication to report only positive news instead of providing fair and balanced coverage.
•He has violated the public’s right to know by withholding information about dangerous criminals from this newspaper and other media in retaliation for reporting his misconduct.
•He has threatened to take away a source of revenue for this paper by withholding legal advertising.
•He claimed to have conducted an audit on this newspaper’s circulation figures without its knowledge, yet when we made an open records request to see this audit, we discovered it was nonexistent.
•He denied meeting with other county officials when questioned about bail bond forfeiture collection procedures.
•His cronies have even taken desperate actions by printing mailers that contain false about his opponent’s police certification.
Sheriff Turner has run rough shod over this county with his intimidation tactics and behind-the-scenes manipulating of public policy and procedure. What kind of honest, honorable public official resorts to these tactics? How can we expect him to maintain the public trust, protect the community and uphold the law while he makes threats? He has acquired so much power over the years that he thinks he can get away with whatever he wants.
It’s time for some new blood to lead the sheriff’s office. It’s time for someone to put the safety of this county first instead of gaining more power through intimidation. He has forgotten what it means to be a public servant. It’s time to restore the integrity and dignity to this office. The dedicated and hard-working employees of the sheriff’s office deserve a new leader. Troup County residents need a breath of fresh air. It’s time for a change.