Clayton County middle school students have a unique opportunity to experience what it is like to be sheriff, in one of two youth-oriented events hosted this spring by Sheriff Kem Kimbrough.
During the other event, one fourth-grader will be named Junior Deputy of the Year during a May 3 awards ceremony.
Lt. Brian Crisp said all middle school students are invited to compete for the distinction of being named "Honorary Sheriff" for a day. To qualify, students must write an essay on what they would do to make Clayton County a better, safer place to live if they were sheriff.
Essays will be accepted until April 20 and must be turned in to the student's English teacher. Kimbrough and his staff will review the entries, said Crisp. The winners will be announced April 27.
Chosen winners will be awarded items to help them mark the occasion and will then spend the day with Kimbrough and his staff on a scheduled day before the end of the school year, said Crisp. Based on the essays, there will be several winners, he said.
On May 3, Kimbrough will honor one fourth-grade student as Junior Deputy of the Year. The decades-old Junior Deputy Program is designed to promote positive law enforcement role models in the elementary schools.
"Each month, deputies go out to elementary schools in Clayton County and address fourth-graders on topics that include bullying, fire safety, gun safety, cigarettes and drugs, shoplifting and water safety," said Crisp. "Throughout the months, several character words that enlighten the youth on positive behavior are discussed."
Crisp said the sheriff’s goal is to influence the youth to make prudent choices.
At the end of the school year, a graduation ceremony is held and each child is rewarded a certificate of completion. One fourth-grade student is nominated from each elementary school to represent that school as the Junior Deputy of the Year.
From the nominations, one student and a runner-up are chosen as Junior Deputy of the Year by Kimbrough and his staff. To make this a memorable event, an awards ceremony will be given to nominated students and their families at the Griswell Senior Center where all nominees will be recognized for their hard work and dedication to the program, said Crisp.
Kimbrough was elected to his first term as sheriff in 2008. He is the second black sheriff to hold that office in Clayton County. He has announced his intention to run for a second term this year.