Early voting begins in Madison County in about two weeks.
Voters will be able to visit the Madison County Board of Elections office in the Madison County government complex beginning May 2 to cast their ballots in the local primary elections and general non-partisan elections.
Early voting will be held through May 20 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on business days. Saturday voting will also be offered May 14 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
There are nine contested local races.
The Madison County Journal has sent questionnaires to local candidates with answers to run in upcoming issues. Three political forums have also been set. A forum was held Tuesday night for district 1 and 2 candidates at the county commissioners’ table. (See story below). A forum for sheriff’s candidates, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, will be held at the Madison County High School Theater at 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 19.
A forum for BOC chairman’s candidates, sponsored by the Madison County Farm Bureau, will be held at the Jackson EMC community room off Hwy. 29 at 7 p.m., Thursday, April 21.
Madison County is now a member of the North Georgia Narcotics Unit.
The board of commissioners voted 4-1 March 28 to join the unit after a presentation by District Attorney Parks White. Jim Escoe provided the lone “No” vote at the table.
“The unit allows us to make great strides in getting to the source of drugs,” said White, who noted that having agencies work together is far more efficient in tracking down drug traffickers than each agency going at it alone.
Madison County will have one investigator, Sam Beard, join the force, which includes Franklin County, Elberton, Hartwell and Lavonia. White said there’s no cost to the county to have Beard join the force overseen by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations. The force plans to approach other towns and counties about joining too. White said it makes sense to have Madison County and Franklin County work together.
Beard will work cases in other counties, such as Franklin County and Hart County. However, law officers noted that Madison County will get the benefit of four investigators from the force working cases in the county, too.
The commissioners had been approached on several occasions by Sheriff Kip Thomas about joining the task force. But the board voiced reluctance to join due to potential liability issues. For instance, what if law officers from other counties get in trouble in a case and get sued? Would Madison County be on the hook financially for the mistakes of officers in other counties? A GBI representative on hand Monday explained that the county is only liable for its own officer. [Full Story »]
A man stands in front of a home. He holds a pistol pointed at his own head. You’re the officer trying to reason with him. When your partner approaches him from behind, the man turns with his gun drawn on your fellow officer and opens fire.
What do you do?
Madison County chief deputy Shawn Burns says, yeah, you shoot. He’s trying to kill your partner.
“And if you wait until he fires, you’re too late,” he said, noting that it’s time to shoot when he turns with his gun drawn on an officer.
But Burns said if you do shoot, then you’ve just shot a man in the back. But in this instance, it was justified.
The hypothetical incident is one of many scenarios Madison County lawmen face on a new use-of-force training system at the sheriff’s office. Scenes are projected from a laptop on the training room wall. Real actors are on the screen with various situations that may or may not require force. And officers must make quick decisions.
For instance, in one scenario, you’re an officer in the vicinity of a recent homicide. You stop a man walking nearby to question him. He’s got his hands in his pockets and won’t remove them. In one scenario, the agitated man reaches quickly behind him, pulls a gun and shoots you. The screen fades out. You’re dead. He outdrew you. But the program can also have the man say that he lives in the area and then reach in his back pocket quickly to pull out a wallet. The same person can be presented as a real threat or a law-abiding citizen. And officers must be able to draw distinctions quickly. [Full Story »]