Who: Tom Caldwell
Occupation: Candidate for sheriff
Talk about how coronavirus considerations will, or will not, affect the way you carry out the agency's three main functions: jail operations, warrant service and court security.
Let’s address jail operations first. Unlike schools and a courthouse, a jail cannot be closed. The jail is a primary concern due to hygienic challenges and the close confinement of inmates. As sheriff, I would prioritize communication. The jail administrator and I would attend every meeting with state and local public health leaders to determine how to execute infectious control measures and manage potential outbreaks. We need to consider medical furloughs for inmates over the age of 55 with chronic health issues who pose less risk to the public. Next, we will take a hard look at the pathways into the jail and make them safer. We will have a plan in place to separately house any inmates with symptoms away from the general population to control the outbreak. As necessary, we can postpone jury trials at the courthouse and continue using technology to allow our courts to proceed with inmates at the jail and judges at home or office. We would prioritize warrants being served to violent offenders, as opposed to misdemeanors. Although we may face strains during this or any pandemic, we will continue to protect our community and staff with continued excellence in planning and communication.
What are your qualifications to be sheriff of Floyd County?
My law enforcement career spans 31 years. Early on in my career, I was a fugitive investigator with the Georgia Fugitive Squad. I gained vital experience in tracking fugitives and serving high-risk felony warrants. In 2002, I initiated a security threat group program that tracks gang activity in the Georgia Prison System.
I was the first from the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office to graduate from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. I was also the first to graduate from The Georgia Law Enforcement Command College Program.
I was the longest serving chief deputy (13 years) in Floyd County history. I believe what makes me the most qualified is actually the phone calls I answered over those years. Calls in the middle of the night about a death or fire at the jail or a crisis in the community that required immediate action in order to preserve life and property.