Occupation: Lee County sheriff
Post Sought: Lee County sheriff (re-election)
Family: Wife, Melissa; adult daughters, Danielle Rudd and LSO Cpl. Daphne Lindsey
Key Issues: Incorporate latest technology into department; Develop more education programs; Maintain professional relationships with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies
LEESBURG, Ga. -- Incumbent Lee County Sheriff Reggie Rachals is not given to blowing his own horn. But the people who know him best point to decisions Rachals has made during his sometimes bitter campaign for re-election as evidence of his primary interest.
Asked about claims made by supporters, Rachals acknowledged, "Yes, there were times when I had campaign events scheduled that I had to miss them because I was out on calls. I was elected to be a working sheriff, and that's my first priority."
To read more about Reggie Rachals' opponent, David Cheshire, click here.
During a conversation, Rachals offers evidence to support his claim as he mentions the department's accomplishments during his first four-year term in office:
- Created a women's firearm and community safety classes;
- Received GBI award for best new state agency for Internet Crimes Against Children;
- Increased training for sheriff's office employees and opened in-service training to surrounding agencies;
- Implemented Taser and impact weapon certification for deputies and jailers;
- Formed mutual professional relationships with area, state and national agencies, including the GBI, FBI, DEA and NCIS;
- Implemented new highway safety programs;
- Increased patrols countywide;
- Increased jail security by creating a more secure receiving area and replacing outdated camera system;
- Saved county money by using inmate labor for work at county facilities.
"I don't like the negative way the campaign has gone at times," Rachals said. "I've taken the high road and run on the platform of making the citizens of Lee County as safe as possible. I have yet to see a platform from my opponent.
"I don't believe the citizens of this county want that kind of politics. That's why I've run this race on my record and plan to take this department forward beyond even where we are now."
Rachals began his 30-year law enforcement career as a beat officer in Albany in 1982. He made the decision to move to Lee County in 1989 when then-Sheriff Harold Breeden recruited him as a deputy. Rachals ran against Breeden in 2008 and surprised many by unseating the longtime sheriff.
He's spent the four years of his term in office reorganizing the department and implementing as much new technology as possible.
"Lee County has come a long ways in the last several years," Rachals said of the fastest-growing county in south Georgia. "I believe the sheriff's department has come a long ways, too. We've provided enhanced training for our deputies in new technology, but we've also rebuilt relationships with law enforcement agencies in Dougherty, Terrell, Sumter and Worth counties.
"Crime does not stop at the county lines. In fact, I believe the crime in Albany and Dougherty County has started to spill over into Lee County. With the terrible economy and people looking for any means to make money, I believe (criminals) will make their way to a more affluent area. And, in this region, that's Lee County."
The sitting Lee sheriff, who is being challenged in Tuesday's Republican primary by former deputy David Cheshire, said law enforcement is in his blood.
"I was sitting at a Fourth of July celebration at Hugh Mills Stadium (in Albany) a long time ago, and I saw an officer helping someone," he said. "I decided that's what I wanted to do, to help people. That's still what I want to do, and I love doing it."