Meet Jackson County sheriff candidate: Jeff Snell

Local News

JACKSON COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Jeff Snell (R) is running for Jackson County Sheriff against Kevin Arnold (D), Hayes Baggett (D), Donnie Edenfield (R), Scott Edwards (R) and Tim Ham (D).

Who is Jeff Snell?

Snell is a lifelong resident of Jackson County.

He attended Graceville High School and Chipola College. He then pursued his degree in criminology at the University of West Florida.

He started his career with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office in 1991.

Why are you running?

“I really enjoy what I do,” Snell said.

He added that he likes his colleagues, the work and most importantly helping people and this iswhat drives him the most.

Is there anything you would like to change about the structure of the department?

“I think the backbone of any agency would be your uniformed patrol division,” Snell said.

He said he would like to grow that department in size by either reallocating or restricting staff in other departments.

Do you think there needs to be any changes in officer training?

“I think you really have to focus on the right training,” Snell said. “You need to constantly be looking into what’s going on in your agency, what are your deficiencies.”

Snell said the JCSO deficiencies include its abundance of young officers. He said he would like to implement a field training mentorship program.

If the county or state issues a mandatory mask ordinance, will you enforce it and how?

“I’m a firm believer in not overreaching into people’s constitutional rights,” Snell said.

He said while it’s the Sheriff’s Office’s job to enforce the law, he would hope that the people making the laws are taking into account people’s constitutional rights.

What are your thoughts on the new issuance about displaying information on sex offenders on Jackson County to be displayed on the JCSO’s Facebook page?

“I think the demographic that you’re trying to protect, which is our children, there’s not enough that you can do to look out for that population,” Snell said. “I support it.”

When you talk about overreaching into people’s constitutional rights, do you believe it’s fair to continue to punish people who have already served their sentence for the crime they have committed?

“I’ve always felt that when you’re finished with your sentence you’re even with the house again,” Snell said. “However, as it relates to the question you just asked regarding the information, that is an element of criminality that no one seems to have the cure for and it is a demographic that has a very high rate of reoffending.”

“So in that instance I do think we need to monitor that.”

Why do you want to take the jail back into JCSO control?

Snell said there’s no intention of cutting jobs or of a mass restructure to the jail.

“I do feel like there are duplications of services by the division of the two,” Snell said.

He said he would also like to implement an inmate work group, an inmate work training program similar to Walton County and an inmate drug addiction program.

How does the inmate work program work?

Snell said inmates must qualify based on their charges. That population would be allowed to go out into the community and work as opposed to being in the jail.

Will they be compensated for this work?

The job training program is free education, Snell said. In this program, they wouldn’t be working on a jobsite for a contractor but receiving the training for when they get out. This will not help offset the cost of the jail.

Snell said the work program will take inmates and employ them on government property, non-profits or cemeteries and that work will help offset the cost of maintenance on that facility. This is voluntary, Snell added, but the work may be traded for time off their sentence.

“At the end of the day they’re working instead of being warehoused,” Snell said, “So you’re not sitting in a building all day doing absolutely nothing.”

“My daddy always said a man needs a reason to get up in the morning.”

How do you plan to address immigration?

Snell said the majority of the drugs coming into the area are brought in by illegal immigrants.

Snell said he would like to work with immigration services to get the dangerous, criminal immigrants out of Jackson County but not refusing to hold inmates, like some cities do as sanctuary cities.

How else will you address drugs in Jackson County?

“Yeah, we want to help those that we can help,” Snell said. “We also know that there are a lot of people out there that don’t want any help.], and before we can help those people in an ideal setting they need to be caught.”

Snell said he would like to increase the number of employees int he drug task force and work together with task forces in other areas.

“A criminal doesn’t care about a boundary line,” Snell said. “As a matter of fat, they’ll use it against you.”

Snell said he would also like to increase patrol units in areas with high crime rates.

Meet the other candidates running for office this year.

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