Long County Sheriff’s Deputy Lt. Craig Nobles was sworn in as the sheriff of Long County on Thursday, replacing his father Cecil Nobles who died on Jan. 9.
The younger Nobles assumes the position after being appointed by Long County Probate/Magistrate Judge Marie Middleton. He will finish his father’s term through the end of this year.
“Daddy was a fair and honest man who cared for all people regardless of their race or financial standing, and regardless of their situation. He loved his job and I am going to try to honor him by serving the people of Long County as sheriff the best that I can,” Nobles said.
He takes over with more than 11 years of police experience, having joined the department in 2000. As a deputy and lieutenant he has worked as the the supervisor of the patrol division, as a school resource officer and as a canine handler in support of drug enforcement. He says he is proud the department has good relationships with other agencies, and will strive to continue them.
“We work well with all of the other agencies in our area, the GBI, the U.S. Marshal’s Office, Hinesville (Police Department), the sheriff’s office in Liberty County, and our city police department. We all support each other and work together, and we’re going to continue to do that,” he said.
The new sheriff said his department has a good reputation and provides quality service, but he does see needs that he will address.
“We still need to address our jail situation because of the costs that the taxpayers are having to come up with to pay for housing prisoners in other counties. And we’re looking at several options with that; but we also have to look at the growth we’ve had and find ways to continue to provide services during these hard economic times,” Nobles said. “Our last census showed that we grew over 40 percent from 2000 to 2010. I think our population is around 15,000 now, but during that same time our department only increased in size by one deputy, one clerk, and three part-time officers. We’re struggling to keep up.”
According to Nobles, the office has 22 full-time employees (himself, three clerks, and 18 deputies) and three part-time deputies who work weekends.
“We need more deputies, and hopefully we can get some more. But to help until we do we can get some equipment that will allow the officers that we have to be more productive,” he said.
Nobles said he hopes to get laptop computers in each of the deputy’s cars.
“If we get these laptops that I want, the officers will be able to stay in the field, instead of having to come back here after every call just to file their reports. This way they can stay in the area they are working in and just by being out there more, they can protect the citizens, but they also are a deterrent because they are being seen more.”
The new sheriff also said he wants to offer and provide more training to his deputies and to create a “Silent Witness” program.
“A Silent Witness program will help in so many ways,” the sheriff said. “People will be able to provide anonymous information without having to give any information themselves, and when we can get these tips, we can weed through them and see what they lead to.”
Nobles said he feels fortunate to finish his father’s term, but wants citizens to know he will run for the job during the next election.
“Yes, I am planning on running, I feel I ought to go ahead and let everyone know that now, and I want everyone to also know that we’re going to continue to treat people with dignity and respect, protect them the best that we can, and to do all we can to provide the best service to the citizens of Long County.”