'I am Newton County'
NCSO captain to run for sheriff

COVINGTON - Longtime Newton County Sheriff's Office Capt. Marty Roberts became the fourth person to throw his hat into the ring for sheriff as he announced his candidacy for the office Monday afternoon.

Roberts, who is running as a Republican, said he has seriously considered vying for the office for at least the past 5 years and feels that his roots in the community make him uniquely qualified for the position.

"I was born and raised here, I am Newton County," Roberts told members of the media outside the old detention facility on Monday. "My career has been with Newton County ... This is where I chose to stay."

Roberts also believes he has the experience necessary to run the sheriff's office.

"I truly believe that the office of sheriff needs to be filled by a person who has the prior knowledge, experience and proven capability in law enforcement, but also in matters concerning the operations and budgeting of a multimillion-dollar facility," Roberts said in a prepared statement. "I am that person."

During his 23-year law enforcement career, Roberts has worked as an investigator with the NCSO's Criminal Investigations Division, as well as the East Metro Drug Enforcement Team.

"I've done almost every duty a deputy can do," he said. "I've investigated every type of crime ... from stealing the kitchen sink to murder."

In February 2006, Roberts was promoted to the rank of captain and to his current position as manager of the Newton County Detention Center.

Roberts credits former Newton County Sheriff Gerald Malcom and current Sheriff Joe Nichols with bringing the sheriff's office to where it is today and said he wants to continue to build upon that foundation.

"I don't think we need to get into what needs to be changed. I think what the sheriff's doing is working," Roberts said.

One of the main challenges facing the sheriff's office, according to Roberts, is the county's growth and keeping up with the demand it has created in retaining and recruiting deputies.

If elected, Roberts said one of the first things he would like to do is sit down with various community leaders and find out what they need from the sheriff's office and then determine how they can best address those concerns.

Roberts also said he would have an "open door policy" in which residents and county officials could come and speak with him about problems they may be experiencing.

Roberts resides in Covington with his wife, Sue. The two have been married 27 years and have raised four children in Newton County and currently have a grandchild on the way.

"I am serious about law enforcement and public safety in Newton County. I have the experience, knowledge, relations and ability to be a successful sheriff," he said in his statement. "The sheriff's office has been my career, and I have worked with dedicated and loyal men and women who have made sacrifices for this office. To serve is a privilege, and I respectively ask for your support, opinions and your vote in 2008."

Roberts encourages anyone with questions about his campaign to contact him either by e-mail at martyroberts2008@bellsouth.net or by phone at 770-784-2295. The candidate said he and his staff are currently working on establishing a campaign Web site.

Opposing Roberts on the Republican Ticket in the July 15 primary will be NCSO Lt. Bill Watterson and Covington Chief of Police Stacey Cotton. Lt. Ezell Brown announced his candidacy for the Democratic slot last week.

The General Election will take place Nov. 4.

Joel Griffin can be reached at joel.griffin@newtoncitizen.com.