Candidate Philip Bradford puts forth platform for Newton County sheriff's race

COVINGTON -- Newton County native Philip Bradford is living out his boyhood dream. He resolved in second grade in a Porterdale Elementary School classroom that he would grow up to be a policeman like his daddy who'd come to his class that day to tell the students about working in law enforcement. He's never wavered from that commitment. Now, he's hoping to be elected the county's chief law enforcement officer as he seeks the office of sheriff of Newton County.

A seasoned law enforcement officer with 26 years of experience with the Covington Police Department, Bradford said wearing the sheriff's badge is not something that came up overnight.

"It's been a long time coming. I can recall years ago talking to Sheriff Joe Nichols, sitting in his office and telling him, 'I want to sit in that chair one day. What does it take to sit there?'" he said. "He was always very open and talked to me and gave me advice. ... He'd say, 'All right, if you want to come in this office, this is what you need to do ... "

Bradford went to work at 18 with the CPD as a jailer. By the time he turned 20, he was a patrol deputy. In high school, he had worked at Wood Office Supply and he said his boss, Jan Curtis, saw potential in him.

"Ms. Jan Curtis said I had good people skills and she wanted me to be a salesman. She couldn't wait until I graduated and she immediately put me into sales, but I didn't want to do that," he recalled. "I knew what I was going to do. I wanted to be a police officer. I loved Ms. Curtis to death, but I knew I wasn't going to be there. We're good friends to this day. She wants a big (campaign) sign in her yard."

Bradford, now captain of CPD's Criminal Investigation Division, has climbed the ladder at the Police Department and said he has always sought to do the best job possible.

"In everything I've done at the Police Department, I've always excelled. I don't just do a job to just get by. It's always the best," he said, adding that that type of commitment is what he will bring to the Sheriff's Office.

In 1995 as a sergeant Bradford was assigned to the Drug Enforcement Administration's Task Force in Atlanta and it was soon discovered that he had a knack for working drug cases. In 1998, working again in the city of Covington, he implemented the VIPER Unit, a street-level response unit to drug use and trafficking in the city. In 2005 he was named commander of the East Metro Drug Enforcement Team, a tri-county drug unit. Due to the federal grants diminishing that kept EMDET going, the unit disbanded in 2007 and Bradford was named commander of the Special Investigations Unit, a combined effort of the CPD and NCSO.

Bradford said if he's elected sheriff he pledges to wage what he calls a "tough, true war on drugs" in this community based on his experience, but also wants to enforce the law against all crime.

"I want to take a tough stand on all crime. I'm not going to be selective on what laws I enforce. If you're breaking the law or violating the law, then with that comes consequences. I want to reduce the crime rate in Newton County. I want to be more proactive in working and being out in the streets, and I want to allow the deputies to be more proactive in their daily activities," he said.

Bradford said he would like to put more emphasis on working to keep young people safe and out of trouble.

"I want to enhance the training of our school resource officers and work with the Juvenile Court services and the Newton County Board of Education to better educate the deputies, myself and my management staff as to how we can more effectively work in our schools to have a safer learning environment for our kids," he said.

He said as he's talked with people in the community, he's heard concern about the crime rate in the county as well as the Sheriff's Department's budget.

"I know as sheriff I'm responsible for managing that budget and I will treat it like it's my responsibility," he said. "And, on top of that, I'll even be accountable for the money and tax dollars that my agency spends. I want to run a transparent agency. You want to see what we're doing, you come ask. There's nothing to hide. In the culture I came up in at the Covington Police Department, it's very easy to be transparent. Because when you always do the right thing, there's nothing to hide. I'll be accountable and I'll be responsible for what we spend."

Bradford said he is confident he can run the department within the budget set forth by the Board of Commissioners because he learned during his days with EMDET how to do more with less.

"We ran off a grant and over time, that budget got smaller and smaller. We had to keep going with the same manpower and that work load did not ease up a bit. We constantly did more with less and our stats did not decrease during that time," he said. "The commissioners can only allocate what the tax digest will allow. We can't spend money we don't have and the money we do have, we have to spend it wisely which requires doing more with less. My goal is to do that with as little, if any, impact on the services provided to the citizens."

He pointed out that because he's worked at the CPD, which meets the high standards of the national Commission on Accreditation in Law Enforcement Agencies, it is second nature to him to do work that meets those standards.

"I came up in a culture totally different than the other two candidates came up in. It's that type of training and culture I want to bring to the Sheriff's Office. I want to move that agency forward," he said. "Those are good people who work for the Sheriff's Office and they know their job and they know what to do. I'm going to need those people to continue working just like they have been, but we may need to refocus on how we work."

Bradford said he would ask voters when choosing a candidate to look at the experience and the resume of each candidate.

"You'll see I am the best candidate to run that agency, and I will do the best job if given the opportunity to be sheriff of Newton County. Tenure is not experience; working is experience and I have always been a working officer," he said.

Bradford is married to Dalleen and they have three children. He is a deacon at Newton Baptist Church and works with the youth ministry. His parents are Herman and Maggie Bradford and both were dedicated employees of Newton County before retirement. His father was a deputy for many years and retired as an investigator in 2001 from the Newton County District Attorney's Office. His mother retired in 2005 having served as a secretary for Superior Court Judges Greeley Ellis and John Ott.


sweetpotato 3 years, 6 months ago

you are right tenure is not experience, sometimes tenure is the problem ! Mr. Bradford you have my vote! Good Luck !


Newtownqq 3 years, 6 months ago

Mother served as secretary for 2 judges? Sounds kinda strange, why do voters need to know that information?. Did mommy get you job at CPD. Sheriff Brown is a fine law man who knows this community well and gets my vote!!! We need to all understand that as the BOC has shrunk the budget over the past few years its made it tough on Sheriff Brown. The BOC seems to have it out for Brown.


NoLiberalHere 3 years, 6 months ago

Good fiscal use of the BOC budget does not include a trip to Israel with his whole family. I guess this is so the sheriff can get in touch with our large Jewish community. Wake up and judge men by their actions and not because they have the same skin color as you. We must get past the iidea that bigotry only is a white problem. It is our community, white and black so we must be more concerned about our community and not our special interest. Newton County is declining everyday and not the same safe community that it was just ten years ago.


sweetpotato 3 years, 6 months ago

I know that either the Ga Chiefs or Sheriffs Assn has an exchange program to Israel and they have officers come here, I remember reading it in the paper. I thought the official themselves paid for it and I guess if just the official went Im ok with the Department paying for that because its to visit with Israeli police who are known for being good at what they do. Id be interested to know if the whole family went though??


guesswho83 3 years, 6 months ago

I have received information from a reliable source in regards to the Israel trip and no the “Brown family” did not attend. The mission trip was for law enforcement officials to attend the country to learn more about their police tactics and security measures they use to protect their country. The Newton County citizen newspaper ran an article about the trip and the purpose for him going. If you are still unsure go and read about it and view the pictures on his campaign site at http://ezellbrownforsheriff.com/index.html .


smallTown 3 years, 5 months ago

OHHHH, but the county tax payers did pay for that trip and A LOT of other stuff that should not have been bought or done!!!!!!!!


guesswho83 3 years, 5 months ago

Unfortunately you are wrong and I do not know where you are getting your data from. The Newton Citizen and the Covington Newspaper posted an article about the mission trip and how it was funded. The Sheriff Association funds the trip for the many law enforcement officials that attended. This is a well-known mission tactics trip that many law enforcements officials are given the opportunity to attend. As a matter of fact Mr. Bradford is on one now and I do not see any of you referencing that. It is obvious that no matter how well an individual performs in a political world people always try and find things or stir up false information. From what I am seeing in Newton County at the present time for the election campaigning there is a lot of immaturity with the other candidate’s, because why would you place your signs right beside your running mate. Like really who does that!!! I have also noticed that people are removing Sheriffs Brown Re-Elect signs from the locations that they are placed in and that is illegal and unethical. You all need to grow up and face the world at hand it’s 2012 not 1912. Grow Up and be adults about this. One last thing if Mr. Bradford really desired to be a Sheriff for Newton County and spoke of this with the previous Sheriff Joe Nicholas, than why didn’t he begin panning out that path at that time. Exactly this is all a conspiracy and he was put up to do this, because we all know Stacey Cotton did not want to try again.


LE4LIFE 3 years, 5 months ago

Really Philip? What culture is it you speak of? You say you spoke to the past sheriff but did not comment about what he said. Would it have been that you needed to be a deputy and learn all the different assignments and responsibilities that we are required to do? Did Joe ever tell you he started with the city and that he went to work with the county under then Sheriff Odum then worked up through the ranks to be Chief Deputy under Sheriff Malcom. That took over twenty years to accomplish. Then he was the Sheriff for 12 years. Sheriff Brown started with the city but wanted to be a deputy and worked under Malcom then Nichols then was elected Sheriff. That again took over twenty five years. This type of service to all citizens county wide to include every municipality within it's limits is the culture that you should have been apart of. I will not knock your service to the city but why not stay there and work toward the chiefs job. If that is the culture you want put fourth then continue you career there but wait. Tell the people the truth, that currently you do not meet the stated standards the city has adopted to be the Chief of Police. It would take another five to ten years to accrue the stated educational requirements the city has adopted under the guise of national accreditation plus countless dollars to achieve those degrees of education. A past sheriff once said that the deputies who work here are educated through the school of hard knocks which includes the experience in dealing with every citizen in this county and every culture that is here. As a deputy you soon realize that you cannot impose your culture on anyone that you take an oath to keep the peace and uphold the constitution for all. We fight crime continuously here but as deputies we realize the responsibility of maintaining those individuals who insist on commiting those crimes. which leads me to my closing comment. What experience do you posess in dealing with jail issues and budgetry restraints? Yea part of this culture also. People please vote for the man that currently has the true experience to handle the office of Sheriff. Thanks


guesswho83 3 years, 5 months ago

Thank You So Much LE4LIFE!!!! Finally someone with Facts and understands how this process works. I totally agree with you on this 100% and wish the Newton County Commissioners office would stop cutting the budget for Sheriff Brown on purpose, because it was never like this the 12 years Joe Nicholas was in office. These Bradford supporters need to conduct their research on their candidate before they go supporting him, because I dare not support someone that shows no experience or ability.


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