Antonio “Block” Johnson

Antonio “Block” Johnson.

Occupation: Fulton County Marshal (retired)

Previous elected offices held: Marshal, appointed, three four-year-terms

Other community service experience: Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Sheriff major, 19 years; and United States Air Force Reserves, first sergeant/master sergeant (retired), 21 years

What is motivating you to run for this office?

I am running for the Office of DeKalb County Sheriff to make a leadership difference and restore community trust while making the office one of the best in the state.

What is the biggest issue facing the Sheriff’s Office and how will you address it?

The law enforcement community is challenged with recruiting and retaining personnel. DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office is not exempted. This issue hemorrhages over to the lack of inmate supervision in the jail, warrant executions, and courthouse security and operations. Addressing this challenge takes an aggressive approach to recruiting the right personnel for longevity.

What strengths and weaknesses have the coronavirus pandemic crisis revealed in law enforcement and jail management in DeKalb County?

The coronavirus pandemic has challenged law enforcement agencies to revise their policies and procedures by balancing public safety and public health to incorporate safety measures to protect staff while serving the community. Consequently, managing an airborne virus of this magnitude, without a cure in a county jail where inmates are in close confinement and share toilets and showers, must be deeply and continuously cleaned often. Furthermore, staff and inmates must seriously practice good personal hygiene, to prevent viruses and from spreading.

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.