Sheriff Welford remembered for restoring public trust - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Sheriff Welford remembered for restoring public trust

GEORGE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

GEORGE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - On Wednesday, George County lost a sheriff and a family lost a husband, a father, and a grandfather.

Garry Welford spent 30 years as a conservation officer for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. But in 2004, Welford decided to run for sheriff because, he said, he wanted to restore public trust.

A previous sheriff had resigned in midst of scandal and later pleaded guilty to perjury. Garry Welford promised residents he was the man who would wipe the tarnish off the badge.

As he took the oath of office, Sheriff Welford let George County's drug dealers know he was coming after them.

"It effects the safety of our citizens," Welford said. "They're not safe at home if people are having to steal and rob to support their drug habit."

Sheriff Welford made good on that promise over the years. WLOX went along for several raids including one where deputies helped round up 33 drug suspects.

Welford explained, "My philosophy is if you don't have a market for drugs then you couldn't sell drugs."

Sheriff Welford showed just as much commitment in overseeing the county jail. In 2006, the George County Regional Correctional Facility was recognized by the American Correctional Association for reaching a level of excellence. Consultants credited the sheriff for a big part of the jail's success.

Consultant Pat Jones said at the time, "The sheriff, the warden and his staff want to do things the right way."

Sheriff Welford said in a WLOX interview that good leadership is key to being a good sheriff.

"I'm going to try to provide them with the type of leadership that will encourage them to be professionals. And if they're professionals then the citizens in the county will feel good about us and that's my goal."

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