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Challenger McClelland, incumbent Nobles round out Long County sheriff candidates
Long County election preview
3. Frank McClelland Jr.
Challenger Frank McClelland Jr. - photo by Mikee Riddle

The final feature of the series previewing contested races in Long County focuses on the final two candidates for sheriff: challenger Frank McClelland Jr. and incumbent Craig Nobles. They are running against challengers Darrell Ballance and James E. Rogers, who were previewed in Wednesday’s edition of the Courier.

Both candidates previewed today received the same questions.

Craig Nobles

Can you provide a brief biography?

I am serving as sheriff of Long County, the county in which I was born and raised. I have been married to Elizabeth Bland Nobles for 30 years.

We have a daughter, Heather N. Lowe, and a son and daughter-in-law, William and Megan Nobles.

We have three grandchildren: Caitlyn and Preston Lowe and Rylie Beth Nobles.

What makes you qualified to be sheriff of Long County?

I have worked with the Long County Sheriff’s Office since Dec. 15, 2000.

I have worked in several capacities, such as patrol deputy, K-9 handler, patrol supervisor and Long County school resource officer.

I am serving as sheriff, the experience of which is an honor and one of public trust.

Public trust is essential for an effective sheriff’s office.

What would be some of the first actions you would take as sheriff? Also, would you attempt to make any major changes over your term?

When I was appointed as sheriff on Jan. 19, 2012, I implemented several changes to our office. The standard operating procedures were rewritten to address changes in case law and to limit exposure to liability. The changes will help facilitate public trust of the sheriff’s office and give the employees of the department clear guidance on what standard of conduct is expected of them professionally and privately.

I created a rank structure for better supervision. Pastor Hermon Scott has been named as the first chaplain of the LCSO, and he will be available to assist families during difficult times. Sgt. Robert Poppell received CHAMPS instructor training and will be teaching this program to all fifth-grade students in the Long County School System.

I plan to equip all Long County patrol vehicles with mobile technology so my deputies will be able to stay in the field. Visibility is key to crime prevention and enforcement.

What role does the sheriff’s office play?

The traditional role. The majority of the tasks of the sheriff’s office are statutorily or constitutionally mandated. Serving legal process, administration of the county jail and officer of the superior court are not only traditional, they are required. Law enforcement and service to the public are also established requirements. We seek to fairly enforce the law across the county on an impartial basis.

How do you see the office changing with population growth?

As the population grows in Long County, additional personnel and technologies will be needed.

I, as sheriff, will seek federal and state grants to ensure that we can grow with the needs of Long County with as minimal increase to our operating budget as possible.

Safety of our communities is essential, and I, my deputies and my office will always meet the demands of Long County and its citizens.

Any comment on a jail?

Long County needs a jail. Over the last year, the amount of inmates housed by Long County has increased, accumulating to almost $600,000 spent on inmate housing and care.

With a jail, the operations of the sheriff’s office would be more efficient and create jobs in Long County. I ask the citizens of Long County to encourage the county commissioner of their district to build a jail.

Anything else?

As sheriff, I recognize and accept that I am given special trust and confidence by the citizens of Long County and the people I serve.

This trust is my bond to ensure that I exemplify and require the highest personal and professional standards. We are going in the right direction and need to continue our progress. All plans need time and opportunity to succeed.

Frank McClelland Jr.

Can you provide a brief biography?

I am a lifelong resident, graduating from Ludowici High School in 1967.

My wife Cindy and I have been married for 36 years, and we have three daughters and eight grandchildren.

I am a Vietnam veteran, a member of Ludowici First Baptist Church and a lieutenant with the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, having served as a peace officer since 1994.

What makes you qualified to be sheriff of Long County?

I have 21 years personnel management, 17 ½ years in law enforcement, 900 hours in service training and have responded to calls ranging from homicide to criminal trespass. This training, along with life experience, has provided me with the skills and knowledge to create and manage a professional and efficient sheriff’s office that is responsive to the needs of the citizens 24 hours a day.

What would be some of the first actions you would take as sheriff? Also, would you attempt to make any major changes over your term?

With the chief deputy, utilizing his experience and mine, I will evaluate every employee.

After reviewing the results, and taking the deputy’s input into consideration, I will utilize the deputies and office personnel where their experience and abilities best serve the citizens of Long County.

I will put a policy in place pertaining to officer accountability to ensure professional, fair and impartial law enforcement.

Deputies will be assigned areas of patrol to reduce response time to calls and help crime prevention throughout the county.

All calls for service will be answered in person by a deputy or me in a professional and timely manner.

I also will work hard at reducing expenses and look for available grants.

I have only mentioned a few, but I have several more good ideas for the future of the sheriff’s office.

What role does the sheriff’s office play?

I believe as the top law enforcement officer in the county, the sheriff is and should be accountable to the people who elected him.

He should have the best interest of the citizens and the county in his heart. He should have the experience and ability to sit down with people and have an open mind to listen to what they have to say, no matter what the problem is. He should be willing to help someone in need as long as it does not harm someone else or violate the law.

The manner in which the sheriff’s office operates is a reflection on the entire county, and it should be a good reflection.

How do you see the office changing with population growth?

As we know, growth brings two things: good and bad.

The sheriff’s office will have to grow with it but in a costs-efficient manner because of our low tax base.

Any comment on a jail?

Yes, we need a jail, but it has to be something that we can afford.

I have checked with some city and county commissioners, and I believe that I can work with them to enlarge the local facility with some prefab pods at a reasonable cost.

This would have a two-fold benefit: One, it will keep our tax money in Long County, and two, it will save family members on travel expenses for visitation.

It also will create jobs for local citizens.

Anything else?

I’m just like each of you: This is our home, our children’s home and our grandchildren’s homes.

This is not just about me and the other candidates; this is about all of us and our families.

I know in my heart I want to try to make things better for Long County, so I’m asking for your vote and support.

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