Reynolds announces for sheriff’s race
By: Jessica Lindley – Cherokee Ledger
Capt. Frank Reynolds said the timing is right — the longtime Cherokee County resident officially announced that he would be running for sheriff next year. Putting his name on the 2016 ballot, he said, was “a calling.”
“I think it is a calling that I have to serve as sheriff and give back to the community,” he said. “That is truly where my heart is at; I have a willingness to help others and lead the community.”
“Many years ago, I had the opportunity to work for the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office and, over the years, I realized that I needed to prepare myself in case I ever wanted to get into management,” he said. “Knowing that Roger Garrison was going to retire in the next two terms, I started looking at the possibilities of running.”
Reynolds, who currently is the commander of field operations with the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, has more than 20 years of law enforcement experience, some of which was earned at the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office when his career started in 1994.
Reynolds said he has worked in many capacities in law enforcement and was a member of the Cherokee County SWAT team for eight years, five of which he spent serving as the marksman team leader. Reynolds said he also served as a sergeant supervisor at the then-Bells Ferry precinct.
“At the time, I had patrolled every corner of Cherokee County,” he said. “I have seen it develop over the years, which has been very interesting.”
In 2005, Reynolds said he was presented an opportunity to join the U.S. Department of State’s High-Threat Protection Program as an independent contractor.
“After the attacks on 9/11, I felt compelled to do something,” he said. “I went to Iraq for over three years, providing personal protection for U.S. diplomats and high-ranking military leaders. This was my way of serving my nation and filling that void of when I didn’t go into the military.”
Reynolds said when he returned from Iraq another door had opened — he was offered the position with the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office to oversee all field operations.
“When I came back from Iraq, I had the opportunity to resume my job with Cherokee, and while I was considering that, Sheriff Donnie Craig had just been elected in Pickens County and he asked me to come on board as a change agent,” he said.
In addition to experience, Reynolds said he brings 4,400 hours of Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training hours as well as education to the table. He is a graduate of Reinhardt University, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree, and Columbus State University, where he earned a master’s degree in public administration.
He is a graduate of the Georgia Law Enforcement Command College and Professional Management Program from Columbus State University.
Reynolds also is a graduate of the FBI National Academy 224th Session and of the Georgia Chiefs of Police Executive Training Course. He has been a resident of Cherokee County for 34 years and is a member of the Rotary Club of Canton, the Cherokee County Historical Society and the Optimist Club of Canton.
“I think Sheriff Garrison set the standard for education and training experience,” Reynolds said. “As sheriff, you have to have the professional qualifications, but it is also about building strong community relations. I think a balance of professional development and a strong sense of partnering are important.”
Reynolds said he additionally has earned advanced law enforcement certifications in management and is qualified to handle the sheriff’s office’s more than $30 million budget.
“While working with the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office and commanding all field operations, which is patrol, CID and school resource officers, we have line-item budgeting,” he said. “The budgets that go with those divisions have to be properly maintained and we do regular budgeting.”
If elected sheriff, Reynolds said he hopes to reduce “unnecessary spending.”
“We want to ensure that there is strict oversight on the annual budget,” he said. “Right now, they operate on a $33 million budget and they just had some pay raises, but we want to make sure that (the employees) are getting what they need to maintain their cost of living.”
During his campaign, Reynolds said he would be running on several platforms, including community outreach, school safety, staffing and protecting constitutional rights.
“Some people have a growing concern about over militarization of law enforcement and concerns about no-knock search warrants,” he said. “I think the sheriff, being the chief law enforcement executive in the county, has both constitutional powers and law enforcement powers that he can use.”
Reynolds said a sheriff should have a high-degree of oversight to make sure there are checks and balances in all aspects of the agency.
“I think, in our community, there are those checks and balances, but it is important that we maintain them and look for opportunities to improve,” he said. “People are concerned with what they see in other communities; we have to prevent those things from occurring in Cherokee County.”
Reynolds said he also would be running on the promotion of community outreach programs.
“We want to enhance business watches and our neighborhood watch program. Those things are already established, but we would like to enhance them through things like Facebook and Twitter,” Reynolds said.
Similar to local community-oriented police academies, Reynolds said he hopes to establish a sheriff’s citizen’s academy.
“We want to give the citizens an opportunity to come in and go through a six- to eight-week program where they would be able to see the entire sheriff’s office up close,” he said. “We have done that in Pickens County, and it has been a great success.”
Reynolds said he also would like to see the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office partner with the Cherokee County School District Police Department to implement a CHAMPS (Choosing Healthy Activities and Methods Promoting Safety) program.
“I have a vested interest in school safety. My wife is a teacher, my sister is a teacher here in Cherokee County and my kids go to school here,” he said. “The deputies are already at the schools, but our main thing is that we want to look at different opportunities to build relationships.”
Reynolds said another focus is to fill vacant positions within the sheriff’s office.
“Sheriff Garrison has done a fantastic job of building one of the finest law enforcement agencies in the state. I would like to make that clear. But, right now, they are under staffed for a wide variety of reasons,” he said. “Our main priority is to get those positions to full staff.”
Reynolds continued, stating that he wants to see the sheriff’s office continue to move forward in a positive direction.
“Our main goal is to provide a quality law enforcement service while maintaining the dignity and respect for our community,” he said. “We have a great sheriff’s office, and we want to preserve that.”
Reynolds, who officially kicked off his campaign on Monday, pledged to run a campaign based of dignity and respect, stating that he “won’t condone any dirty campaigning.”
For more information, Capt. Frank Reynolds can be reached at (770) 877-1145 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.