Who: Dave Roberson
Office: Floyd County Sheriff
What are your qualifications to be sheriff of Floyd County?
In my 25 years of continuous service, I’ve held nearly every position at the sheriff’s office, and I’m the only candidate who has had leadership roles in every division. I was hired as a jail officer and worked my way up with boots on the ground, not sitting in an office. Until my leave of absence, as division commander for field operations I was on the roads every day. I have the best grasp of what our community needs and wants because I saw and heard it daily. I’m the only candidate who has dedicated my career to this agency and I did that because I care about what we do and how it impacts our citizens. I care about the people who work there. I know this agency inside and out, and I have the experience, vision, integrity, and genuine care for people required to move us forward.
The jail medical facility is undergoing a major expansion to include a mental health wing. How do you envision using it?
The expansion is a step in the right direction to providing a safer environment for inmates and employees. Since the closing of Northwest Regional, our jail has been flooded with people with mental illnesses and no access to resources. We have been ill equipped to handle it. We currently have four medical beds, insufficient to say the least. The new unit will bring that number closer to 50. I am also focused on promoting training. I was one of the first in our agency and our area to seek out CIT training and am now a certified crisis intervention instructor. Our deputies need this training to do their jobs effectively. I hope that by creating a safer environment, adding training for our staff, and partnering with community organizations, we can help some of these people with mental illnesses get on a healthier path instead of jail being a revolving door.
The sheriff’s office has three main jobs: serving warrants, courthouse security and jail management. Will you institute or maintain any other presence in the community?
Community involvement is important to me personally. I’ve been a public servant since I took the oath at 21 and have been involved with a number of organizations and initiatives that have benefited our community. I see it like this: The sheriff is elected by the people and serves at the will of the people, so whoever is elected needs to be someone who will listen, address community concerns, and serve as a resource. In terms of community involvement as an agency, it’s critically important. Not only do we need to be in tune with the issues, we need to be an active partner in finding solutions. I will encourage more collaboration between the sheriff’s office and our commissioners, district attorney’s office, courts, other law enforcement agencies, schools, churches, and community organizations that will result in productive relationships, forward-thinking initiatives, less overlap of services, and positive outcomes for Floyd County.
How will a sheriff’s office under your command work with the Rome City and Floyd County police departments?
The sheriff’s office has a positive working relationship with the other agencies and that will continue under my leadership. There is very little overlap, but there is always room for improvement. I’ve said from the moment I announced my campaign that I believe collaboration, teamwork and strategic partnerships are the keys to making Rome and Floyd County a better, safer community for all the families that live here. I will encourage more collaboration with local law enforcement agencies to tackle the concerns of our citizens and employees, such as mental health, drugs, youth violence, and gangs. I am best equipped to do this because of the productive relationships I’ve built over my 25-year career. Relationships are not only a meaningful part of life, but they’re also a foundation upon which big things can happen. We must work together to offer better services and solutions to the citizens of our community.
Name one change you will make in the agency if you are elected.
The recruitment and retention of employees is my top priority, and I’m the only candidate who has been talking about this from the start. I will accomplish this by:
1. Being proactive in recruiting so people see that this can be more than just a job, but a meaningful career that makes an impact.
2. Making sure employees are properly trained.
3. Treating people with respect, as I always have, and being a motivating leader who empowers people to do great work and want to advance within the agency.
4. Creating a community of trust and opening the lines of communication. I want to hear our employees’ ideas and what they think can be better.
5. Continuing to work with our commissioners on compensation.
6. Ensuring that the merit system for promotions is fair and transparent.
7. Making a concerted effort to broaden diversity so we are more representative of our community.
This interview was published in the Rome News-Tribune on April 18, 2020.