Ruth Stringer

Ruth Stringer.

Occupation: Retired Major, DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office; Chief of Security, Grace Church  International

Previous elected offices held: None

Other community service experience: Youth camp volunteer, Hosea Feed the Hungry; Youth educational services (tutoring), People to People.

What is motivating you to run for this office?

I was appointed to serve as the interim sheriff for 40 days when the elected sheriff was suspended by the governor. I observed various contracts that caused me to realize that the Sheriff’s Office had become less of a law enforcement agency for the citizens of DeKalb and more of a money-making enterprise for former officials. The current leadership will continue the pipeline of tax dollars to contractors/vendors to the pockets of former officials. I am a grassroots candidate and do not have those obligations or attachments. I want to restore the integrity and structure of the agency.

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

The biggest issue facing the Sheriff’s Office today is the fallout from COVID-19. The community will soon find itself impacted by the early releases, criminals wreaking havoc on the community  because they no longer fear going to jail due to the new signature bond policy, and the safety of the women and children who are locked in quarantine with predators and abusers. I would immediately consult with police agencies throughout the county and implement a progressive plan to curtail the potential surge in crime. A universal mechanism would be developed and launched for quarantined victims to contact law enforcement.

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

The strength is the dedication of the detention officers, technicians and deputies. The weakness revealed has been in the current  leadership and their inability to map out a successful plan to deal with the pandemic. The false narratives being presented to the public and the reality of what is happening in the facility are dramatically different. The draconian, inhumane lockdown of inmates for 20-23 hours per day is unacceptable. Officers working in the kitchen preparing inmate trays on the taxpayers’ dime when a contractor is being paid to provide workers is unacceptable.

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