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Meet the 2 candidates running for Laurens County Sheriff

Sheriff Larry Dean is being challenged by Marshall Floyd again after running against him in 2016.

DUBLIN, Ga. — Voters in Laurens County will elect a new sheriff this year or vote to keep the incumbent in office. Sheriff Larry Dean is being challenged by Marshall Floyd again after running against Dean in 2016. Dean is running as a Republican while Floyd is on the ballot as a Democrat. 

We spoke to the candidates about a number of topics including gang violence, theft in the county, increasing retention among jail staffers and deputies, deputy pay, but the candidates started off explaining why they should be elected. 

Sheriff Larry Dean said, "Well, we've got a lot of things accomplished here in Laurens County in the last three years and half years. Morale in our office has been at an all-time high, I've been able to get five resource officers in our schools, I've been able to add three additional deputies to our county we are a big family now, we have a good working organization here at Laurens County." 

Marshall Floyd said, "If I'm elected sheriff, I am not a politician, my main concern is public safety. I will make it my mission to listen to your concerns, listen to your problems, I would like to have maybe quarterly information-sharing meeting with the public and listen to issues that they may have, that might not be a crime situation, but just something they would suggest on, 'Let's look into this, let's see if we can make this situation better.'" 

Additionally, the candidates detailed what they would like to achieve if elected. Both agreed things like gang violence and theft are areas they would like to pay attention to. 

"The main thing is we have to start in our jail, when gang members come in our jail, they have tattoos and gang signs and all that, and we just went through a course where we want to educate the public where the general public can realize when they see gang signs, they'll understand the importance of it and we can get more resources out in the community, and as long as people if our citizens understand where these gangs are moving and we want to get into our schools. If you want to build a rapport with these young people, we want a child to reach out to the police -- we're their friend and we are just human beings to them," Dean said.

When it comes to theft, Dean says having more patrol units, cutting down on drugs in the community, and arresting suspects quickly will help cut down on theft. Floyd says if elected he would handle theft by tackling gang directly. 

"It is a terrible thing to have a gang problem anywhere, especially in rural Georgia. I mean, how can we combat gangs? We have to stop their numbers from growing. How do you stop that? You have to stop the recruitment, and gang members are usually recruited at an early age from the person that might be 12, 13 years old, might stand on the street watch for authorities coming, so we have to get involved with our children," said Floyd.

The two candidates also told us what their priorities would be elected. Dean wants to increase deputy pay, add more technology to fight crime, and continue to build relationships with the community, while Floyd wants to double deputy training hours (from 20 to 40), increase patrols in the county, which he hopes would improve a deputies response time.

Dean said. "My opponent has challenged me on my retention rate. I've been fully-staffed with mandated officers since I've been sheriff. I've had over seven officers actually leave to try better jobs and they've come back to the department." 

Floyd said, "I am working for the county when I'm the sheriff and I want to be held accountable. We want to do a good job, I want people to turn around and say, 'My neighborhood is being protected.'"

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