By Curt Yeomans
Clayton County Sheriff-elect Kem Kimbrough will be one step closer to taking office tonight when he takes his oath of office as the next sheriff.
Kimbrough, who does not officially take office until Jan. 1, 2009, will be sworn in during a public ceremony at 6 p.m., at the VIP Complex at Clayton County International Park, 2300 Highway 138, Jonesboro.
Kimbrough defeated outgoing Sheriff Victor Hill in an August run-off election, and then went on to defeat Jack Rainwater in the Nov. 4 general election.
"The swearing-in process culminates Kem Kimbrough's successful run as the Democratic candidate for the Clayton County Sheriff's office," said his spokesperson, Theia Washington, on Wednesday in a press release.
Kimbrough was unavailable for comment. Washington said the sheriff-elect was attending "new sheriff's training," and had another meeting to attend after the training concluded for the day.
"He is just excited and eager to take office," said Washington on Thursday. "More than anything, he is looking forward to the changing of the keys ceremony when he takes over as sheriff."
Kimbrough's swearing-in takes place as his predecessor faces mounting criticism. On Monday, a federal judge ordered Hill to post a $664,539.25 bond, or his appeal of a verdict awarded against him in favor of George Mark Tuggle will be dropped. A day later, Tuggle's attorney, Bill Atkins, filed a motion accusing Hill of taking off to Las Vegas, and not cooperating with Kimbrough during the transition process.
Kimbrough did release a statement, which accompanied the press release distributed on Wednesday. In the statement, the sheriff-elect expressed gratitude to his supporters. "I am honored for the opportunity to serve the people of Clayton County, and humbled by the outpouring of support from the citizens," he said.
"I look forward to running a sheriff's office built on strong leadership and open government, in order to achieve safe neighborhoods, effective law enforcement, and cohesive teamwork with other county departments," Kimbrough added.
Kimbrough and his wife, Sherika, have two sons, Kem, Jr., 6, and Sean, 4. The sheriff-elect is a graduate of Morehouse College and Emory University, who has more than 10 years of law enforcement experience in the county, including a stint as a legal advisor in the sheriff's office, according to press release issued on Wednesday.