Forsyth County’s sheriff has made official his plans to seek a fourth term.
Ted Paxton made the announcement in a news release late last week.
Paxton was first elected in 2000 and took office Jan. 1, 2001. He was re-elected in 2004 and again in 2008.
“When I became sheriff, I took over the reins of an office that was in disarray, with low morale and with multiple lawsuits pending,” Paxton said.
“Since that time, thanks to the hard work and dedication of a large number of sheriff’s office employees, we have built this agency into a model that other law enforcement agencies around the country have sought to emulate.”
Paxton will face opposition from at least two candidates in the July 31 Republican primary.
Lauren McDonald III and Duane Piper have both announced their intentions to seek the post.
Piper is a retired deputy who spent 16 years with the local sheriff’s office and 25 in law enforcement.
McDonald, Forsyth County’s coroner since 2001, is the owner of McDonald and Son Funeral Home and Crematory.
Qualifying for the primary is set for May 23-25.
Among his achievements, Paxton cites the agency’s accreditation in 2003, ’06 and ’09 by the Committee of Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies, or CALEA.
In addition, the sheriff’s office was named a Flagship Agency for the organization in 2009. Only seven sheriff’s offices in the state are accredited.
Other awards the agency has received under Paxton’s leadership include the Mothers Against Drunk Drivers’ Georgia Agency of the Year in 2006 and first place in 2010 in the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety impaired drivers program, for its efforts in removing impaired drivers from the road.
Also, the sheriff’s crime scene unit in 2011 was awarded the International Association of Chiefs of Police August Vollmer Award for Excellence in Forensic Science.
For its efforts in promoting boating safety on Lake Lanier, the agency in 2011 was awarded the National Water Safety Congress Award.
Paxton, 59, retired in 2000 at the rank of captain from the DeKalb County Police Department, where he served for 30 years.
He noted that the job of being sheriff is “a journey, not a destination.”
“I have devoted my entire working career, over 40 years, to law enforcement and while our agency has accomplished many great things during my 11 years here, there is still much work to be done,” Paxton said.
“I’m proud to be your sheriff and I ask you for your vote and support for the next four years.”
Paxton started a community relations unit to develop and enhance the Neighborhood Watch program in the county shortly after he took office.
Today, 317 local subdivisions actively participate in the program, which represents more than 30,000 Forsyth County residents.
The agency’s work with local neighborhoods and the program resulted in 2009 in a National Excellence Award from the National Sheriffs’ Association.
The agency also has developed its Business Watch program, in which more than 3,000 businesses participate.