Meet Jackson County sheriff candidate: Kevin Arnold

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

Who is Kevin Arnold?

Arnold has been married for 26 years and has two children with his wife Georgia, and three grandchildren.

He lives in the Sneeds area. He said Georgia’s father was a warden from the Department of Corrections.

Arnold grew up in the Graceville community in a farming family. His father also had a car dealership.

“I’ve worked hard my whole life,” Arnold said. “Hard work instilled a lot of characteristics and values in me at an early age that I’ve carried into my adulthood that I still use today.”

Arnold graduated from Graceville High School and went on to Chipola College where he got a degree in criminal education. He went on to Troy University where he got a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice.

Afterwards, he went back to Graceville to attend the police academy and was hired with the Graceville Police Department as a police officer. He was then hired as deputy sheriff for the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

He has since worked at the JCSO in the criminal investigations department and the narcotics division.

He said he has also taken several courses to further his career including SWAT, homicide, narcotics and leadership courses. He added that he is a general instructor with the Florida Department Law Enforcement, a pilot in the aviation division and is dive certified.

What are your top three priorities for the department should you be elected?

  1. Getting more officers on the streets. This will increase quality of life among deputies and decrease response time to calls, he said.
  2. Focus on the drug problem.
  3. Make internal changes by updating policy and procedures and making sure the best employees are hired.

How would you fund more positions?

Reallocate money already within the budget, he said. He added that he would like to ask for more funding to get back some positions that were moved from the JCSO to the school board for the SRO program.

Do you think the SRO positions are absolutely necessary?

Absolutely, he said.

“Our children should be our first priority,” he said. “We need law enforcement in our schools to protect our children.”

How will you address the drug issue?

Work together with surrounding agencies, he said.

Increasing patrol deputies would also help, he said.

How will you strengthen the relationships with other agencies?

Reaching out to other sheriffs to build on existing relationships to form a joint task force, he said.

Is there anything you would like to address regarding restructuring in the department?

He said he would like to look at restructuring the personnel and possibly move positions around to bolster departments that may need it.

“I would love, and want to, and will, if elected sheriff, to put someone in to help our internal affairs division,” Arnold said.

How will you address the amount of unsolved murders in Jackson County?

Arnold said he would like to go back and look at those files and recruit retired homicide investigators to help close them.

There’s currently a JC deputy awaiting trial for fabricating evidence. How will you make sure that doesn’t happen in the future?

More oversight, Arnold said.

Updating policies and procedures, he added. This includes updating the use of force policies and others to hold staff accountable.

Closing remarks:

“I’m not going to make a bunch of promises but the one promise that I can guarantee you is not promising people certain positions if they vote for me,” Arnold said. “Is that I am going to work just as hard as I can to keep our community safe, our people safe, our seniors safe and our youth safe.”

Meet the other candidates running for office this year.

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