NAME: Gerald Couch
POLITICAL PARTY AFFILIATION: Republican
OCCUPATION: Retired Law Enforcement
1) Why are you running for this office?
My entire professional career has been in dedication to this community. I believe the citizens of Hall County deserve the very best protection and services from their Sheriff's Office. The breadth of experience and the public trust I earned prepared me to serve the citizens of Hall County. The best way I can continue to serve is to provide professional and proven leadership during these challenging times. I have the formal training, real-world experience and determination to lead the Hall County Sheriff's Office into the future.
2) Is this the first time you have run for political office? (If "no," please explain.)
3) What qualifications for the office do you bring to the campaign?
I've trained, worked, supervised and managed in nearly every area within the Hall County Sheriff's Office during my thirty-year career in law enforcement; extensive training with over 3,000 peace officer training hours to include supervision and management; Chief Executive Officer training through the Georgia Chiefs Association; earned the respect and trust of the criminal justice community; actively involved with community and victim advocacy organizations.
And personally, my faith, family values, dedication to community, commitment to the office and law enforcement knowledge/experience makes me the most qualified candidate.
4) What do you see as the biggest concern/issue facing the office?
The national and local economies greatly affect the face of the Hall County Sheriff's Office. Experienced officers are leaving in record numbers, morale is not as it should be, and available advancements in law enforcement technology are beyond our budget. Our officers and our community deserve better.
Development and retention of professional and experienced officers are paramount for our community safety. Low morale leads to officer injury and slow response to public needs. The investment we make in officers to have them trained, certified and adequately equipped is being diminished as we lose our veteran officers. Reducing the severe financial impact of furloughs, setting minimum standards of education and physical agility, and providing truly modern technology for officers will help restore what has been lost or unmet.
5) Do you favor continued participation in the federal government's 287(g) program, which allows specially trained deputies to enforce federal immigration law? And, please explain your answer.
Yes, I do favor continued participation in the 287(g) program. It was written and designed as a federal partnership to rid our communities of dangerous criminals. I favor a strong working relationship with the federal government to rid our community of anyone bringing drugs, weapons and violence into Hall County.
6) Do you favor continued use of the county jail, as long as space is available, to house out-of-county inmates as a revenue producer? And, please explain your answer.
Yes, as long as the financial benefits to the county outweigh the true costs. As in every other area of business, it depends on the terms of our contract and how that contract is managed. The details of the individual contracts with other jurisdictions need to be reviewed regularly to assure the real costs (injury to officers, damage to county property, costs of transportation, legal fees for civil litigation, and additional criminal offenses by inmates) are assessed against the original, responsible county.