GEORGE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Three men are facing off on Nov. 3 to become George County's next sheriff.
Dondee Hartley, 48, of Lucedale, is running as an independent. Hartley has 23 years of experience in law enforcement.
Currently, he is a school resource officer for the George County School District. Prior to that, he's been a patrol officer, field training officer, detective, narcotics agent and worked with state corrections. He was also a lieutenant at the police department then worked for George County Sheriff's Office. Hartley has a daughter and two grandchildren. This is his first time running for sheriff.
"There are several things that need to be corrected, in my view. I would like to see more officers on the street. More and better trained officers. Be a better steward of the money we have. More and better trained deputies will serve the community better," said Hartley.
R. Keith Havard is running for sheriff as a Republican. The 50-year-old lives in the Barton Community of George County. He has 22 years of experience in law enforcement and four years active duty in the Army as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division and two years in the National Guard.
He is an FBI National Academy graduate. He was a patrol supervisor and a supervisor in investigations at the Ocean Springs Police Department. Havard was assigned to the FBI Safe Streets Task Force. He is a Desert Storm veteran and won a combat award for valor.
Currently, Havard is the commander of the South Mississippi Metro Enforcement Team out of Jackson County. It's a narcotics task force. Havard has four sons. This is his first year running for a political office.
"I'd like to offer George County Sheriff's Office to citizens 24 hours, seven days a week rather than the current hours of operation, which are eight to 5 p.m. Introduce community policing, which entails building relationships between the department and the community. I would like to expand patrol and have patrol beats, where you're minutes away instead of an hour. Currently, right now, you have very few officers on duty. I want to aggressively combat the narcotics problem that effects our county," said Havard.
LC Fairley, 50, is running as a Democrat. Fairley lives in the Benndale Community of George County.
He has 15 years of law enforcement experience. Fairley started his career in 1994 as a corrections officer. He was then a game warden, a deputy for the George County Sheriff's Office, a patrolman for Lucedale Police and became Chief of Police in New Augusta, MS.
Fairley has an associate's degree in Wildlife and Criminal Justice from MSU. He is married with eight children and eight grandchildren. This is his second time running for office. He ran eight years ago when Sheriff Garry Welford was killed.
"My number one goal is to build a better working relationship between the sheriff's department and the citizens and the Lucedale Police Department, and focus on making our community a lot safer and better for our youth. I also want to work with the board of supervisors to try to get a training program in our prisons so that when the prisoners are released, they can get a job. Because I've worked construction and made a lot of contacts with companies who say, once the prisoners are released they would hire them if they were trained. It will keep prisoners from going back to jail, because they would have something productive to do. I want to work with the schools specifically for students who can't pass or get kicked out of school to go to a job corps program to get a high school diploma and learn a trade," Fairley said.