MACON, Ga. — This November, former GBI Agent in Charge JT Ricketson is challenging Bibb County Sheriff David Davis.
13WMAZ sat down with both candidates to discuss top issues, including violent crime and what the sheriff can do to prevent it.
This year, Bibb County recorded over 35 homicides, but this September, there were no confirmed homicides.
Sheriff David Davis and the sheriff's office credit that to Operation Bold Heart, a two-month operation which arrested 229 people and confiscated 135 guns. Davis says since the operation began, Macon-Bibb has seen a drop in violent crimes.
"Their efforts along with our residents will help to foster a safer and stronger Macon-Bibb," Davis said.
"All he's doing is validating what I said was a problem. He's been in office 8 years. He could have been doing this all along," Ricketson said, talking about the operation's announcement being a month out from the election.
Before the announcement of the operation yesterday, 13WMAZ reporter Ashlyn Webb sat down with both candidates to discuss their plan to decrease violent crime and the homicide rate.
Both JT Ricketson and David Davis say their top priority is to reduce violent crime, but they have different plans.
Ricketson says he would first launch a team to serve outstanding warrants and bring in the suspects.
"Some of that violence is because we have too many criminals that are on our streets. This is another information that has come straight out of the Sheriff's Office. There are over 3,000 fugitives that are roaming our streets right now freely walking around that have active warrants on them," Ricketson said.
Bibb County Sheriff's Office says 57% of those outstanding warrants are for misdemeanors.
Ricketson says he also wants to start a task force with other agencies to get drugs off the streets and tackle gangs.
"So we'll partner with Peach and Crawford and Monroe and Twiggs and Houston and anybody else that wants to partner up with us, and we combine our resources so then that way we can be more effective in looking at the crime and dealing with the crime," Ricketson said.
Davis says Bibb County already has many partners.
"We partner with the FBI, The DEA, surrounding sheriff's offices and police departments that we work with. So, everything we do is multi-jurisdictional," Davis said.
But Ricketson says the Sheriff's Office's current approach is not a task force like the one he wants to start.
As for Davis, he says the county is getting a grip on its violent crime like with Operation Bold Heart, but they're also using new strategies like setting up cameras.
"We've partnered with Georgia Power and Cox Communications with these site-view cameras. We already have about 14 of them up in various different places in the community," Davis said.
Davis says he's also working to set up Shot Spotter, a system that detects the location of gunfire.
"And that coupled with the cameras will help us to pinpoint exactly where gun shots are fired so that we can we can catch those evildoers that are doing some of the gunfire around here," Davis said.
Another thing both candidates mentioned is the importance of getting out into the community. Davis noted their Concord Project, which is a joint effort with the clergy and people in the community who have committed crimes.
Ricketson says the Sheriff's Office needs more deputies walking or biking the streets, making a connection with people in the area. Eventually, Ricketson says he'd like to bring in horseback mounted patrols.
Davis says in terms of homicide investigations between 2014 and 2019, the Sheriff's Office solved 81% of cases. According to the FBI, which says 62.3% of homicide cases were solved in 2018 nationwide, that's above the national average.
Early voting on that race and many others across Central Georgia is underway now.