Editor’s note: The Citizen’s interview with Republican candidate for sheriff Capt. Ken Malcom will appear in the weekend edition, Sept. 12-13.
COVINGTON — Newton County Sheriff Ezell Brown has spent parts of six decades in law enforcement, and his campaign for a fourth term gives all indications that he’s far from bringing his career in public service to an end.
Brown, who was unopposed in the Democratic Primary in June, will face Republican (and Covington Police Department captain) Ken Malcom in the race for sheriff in the General Election on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
“I have the physical, mental and emotional stamina needed not only to run another campaign but to serve another term and beyond…. Not only am I physically and mentally fit for another term, but the foundation I have laid since the day I took office allows me to work smarter, not harder,” wrote Brown, who declined to be interviewed but provided written responses to questions.
“It is important to recognize that 46 years of law enforcement and 44 years as a business owner have afforded me the opportunities to put the necessary measures, people and resources in place that make the Newton County Sheriff’s Office a force to be reckoned with.”
First elected in 2008, Brown has worked for the Sheriff’s Office since 1978 and pointed to a host of the department’s accomplishments during his tenure, not the least of which has been attaining status as a “triple crown agency,” which reflects that Brown’s office in 2018 earned honors from the Commission on the Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) and the American Correction Association (ACA).
“Being a triple crown agency is no small feat,” said Brown. “If it were easy, we would not be one of four out of 159 counties in Georgia nor would we be in the top 40 of 3,600 (counties) nationally. I didn’t do this alone, but I am proud that this happened under my leadership.”
Brown also mentioned other programs, including the Random Act of Kindness Initiative, a residential substance abuse treatment program for inmates, Creating Healthy Options Increases Choices to Effective Solutions (CHOICE) and CHAMPS, Neighborhood and Business Watch, Sheriff’s Guardian Angels, and back-to-school drives and giveaways as examples of successful community outreach.
“We take pride in serving and protecting our citizens in traditional and non-traditional ways,” said Brown, a native of Early County, whose public safety career began in 1973 as a patrolman for the Covington Police Department. “We don’t just fight crime; we engage in strategies that prevent crime. I cannot begin to share how much praise we receive for going above and beyond.”
A member of the National Sheriff’s Association, Brown also serves on the Georgia Sex Offender Registry Review Board and is the Region 2 vice president of the Georgia Sheriff’s Association. He also holds membership in the Georgia and International chapters of Arson Investigators and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, and serves as a board member for the Georgia Sheriff’s Standards and Training Committee.
Brown, who said he would be “more than happy” to participate in a debate or political forum with his opponent, also said that the prevalent concerns he’s hearing about from constituents are the novel coronavirus pandemic and unemployment. While he says unemployment concerns “are beyond our scope,” he did point to the Workforce program, where the NCSO partners with local businesses to train graduates from the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) program for employment upon release.
As far as COVID-19, Brown said policies and procedures in his office were changed to minimize the spread of the virus in the county jail, which included suspension of on-site visitation (and the offer of video visitation), suspension of the weekender and work release programs and other initiatives.
Brown also agreed that the virus has altered the way he’s campaigning.
“Physical distancing does not eliminate social connections,” he said. “From the first time I stepped foot into the office of the sheriff, I asked for our Newton County citizens to let my work speak for me. Therefore, traditional campaigning is not what I am relying on to get me back in office. The work I do every day is built around community outreach and connecting with the community I serve.
“Our daily operations are our greatest campaign strategies. People see my work throughout the community and abroad, not just during campaign season…Our effectiveness tells the story of the Newton County Sheriff’s Office. We don’t have to rely on promises of what we think we can do or what we think people want to hear. Promises are pipe dreams when clear, evidence-based plans are unavailable.”
When asked what he’s telling voters when they ask why they should return him to office, Brown said, “…My work speaks for itself in Newton County and beyond. If it’s not broken, there’s no need to fix it. Vote for me because I have shown that I am the only candidate with proven leadership.”
For more information, visit www.ezellbrownforsheriff.com.