Clayton County Sheriff Kem Kimbrough said he would consider running for sheriff again if he felt like county residents wanted him to seek the office.
JONESBORO — Clayton County Sheriff Kem Kimbrough won’t rule out running for sheriff again.
“When you lose sight of the people, then you stray away from the purpose of public service,” Kimbrough said. “If I am convinced that my service would make a difference, I will run again. I ran for sheriff in 2008 because this community was in trouble. I moved here 13 years ago. I own two homes here, I am not going anywhere.”
Kimbrough lost in the August election to Victor Hill, the same man he beat in 2008 to become sheriff. But he remains proud of the four years he spent in office.
“My accomplishments were not for me,” he said. “Everything that I put into this office [was] not about me, [it was] about the people of Clayton County. I would like to see the things that we did continue in Clayton County.”
Kimbrough issued a few thinly veiled parting shots at unidentified public servants he said cared more about their own agendas than the communities they serve.
“People like myself and possibly other officials we have to downplay it, to make the county look good,” Kimbrough said. “We don’t want people talking about the drama in Clayton County. Our challenge was, how do we survive the challenges that face us using the resources that we have available?”
Kimbrough said the county is in the best location in the state for economic development, but that the county must market itself better.
“We have everything but the ability to market it because we keep shooting ourselves in the foot,” he said. “It seems like the more we get accomplished as a county, the more people line up to try to make us look bad and that is sad.”
Kimbrough touted establishing youth groups such as a Summer Youth Academy and the Explorers among his accomplishments. The summer youth academy increased from 25 children when he started it to 200 children in 2012.
“The Summer Youth Academy kept kids out of trouble during the summer,” Kimbrough said. “Our Explorers program gives youngsters an insight and a pathway into a career in law enforcement. We have to show the children we care and that we are concerned about them and we want them to be successful. If we promote that successfully through legitimate means such as, education, sports, or any number of positive endeavors then we will not see them in jail.”
The sheriff said that most of the people incarcerated at the Clayton County jail are not bad people. He said they just do not know how to deal with crisis. He added that most of their responses to crises takes them outside of the law.
“Following the law may not always satisfy you,” he said. “But it will keep you out of jail.”