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Lieutenant plans run for sheriff

COVINGTON - Lt. Ezell Brown became the first Democratic candidate to announce his candidacy for sheriff Friday.

Brown has 34 years experience in Newton County law enforcement, having worked at both the Covington Police Department and the Newton County Sheriff's Office.

He has held numerous positions since coming to work for the sheriff's office in 1978, including supervisor of the night shift at the Newton County Detention Center and investigator in the Criminal Investigations Division.

Currently, Brown is in charge of tracking and monitoring sex offenders.

Brown previously ran for sheriff in 1996, when he was defeated by current Sheriff Joe Nichols, who has announced he will not seek another term. Brown said he promised in 1996 that he would not run against the sheriff unless he felt that residents were not being well-served.

"I think the sheriff has done a superb job. I think he has moved the department into the 21st century ... so upon the two of us discussing his retirement, I felt it was fair and fitting to pursue the office of sheriff again," Brown said.

His campaign slogan is "What Brown Can Do For You (Remember, that's Ezell not UPS)," and Brown said his platform is focused on "the war against the 'Big Three': drugs, sex and violence."

"Our greatest enemies may be likened to a brain tumor," Brown stated in a press release. "Drugs, sex and violence are like the headaches, vomiting, problems with sight, etc., that are symptomatic of a much larger issue. We all know that treating the symptoms does not rid an individual of the ever-present brain tumor. Therefore, change must be systematic, including prevention, early intervention and bringing to justice those guilty of violating the laws of the land."

Brown said he wants to make sure the sheriff's office provides all the services needed by residents.

"It's very important for citizens to know we want to have a full service department, being able to take care of the patrols as well as the jail, criminal investigations and all other areas as far as keeping citizens of this county safe," he said.

Brown was born in Early County in South Georgia, where he attended elementary and high school, and later furthered his education at Albany Technical College.

He moved to Newton County in 1973 and worked for the Covington Police Department before he was hired by the Newton County Sheriff's Office in 1978.

The first dually-certified law enforcement and arson investigator in the county, Brown said he has more than 2,000 hours of documented training in various areas pertaining to law enforcement and recently completed a management course with Columbus State University.

He has been married to Janice Harris-Brown for 34 years and has three children and four grandchildren.

"I'm excited about the upcoming election. I pledge to be accessible to the public. I pledge to continue to be a working sheriff, hands on. I've always availed myself to the community. I've made myself, I think, in every walk of life, a lifeguard to others in the community," he said.

Brown encouraged residents to call him or his campaign staff with questions or concerns at 678-507-6460 or send mail to P.O. Box 1084 Covington, GA 30015. Residents may also visit his Web site at www.ezellbrownforsheriff.com.

Lt. Bill Watterson and Covington Police Chief Stacey Cotton have announced they will be running on the Republican ticket in the July 15 primary. The General Election takes place Nov. 4.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.