Georgia sheriffs are among those now embroiled in the dispute between Governor Brian Kemp and David Perdue over the Georgia State Patrol.

Last week, Republican challenger David Perdue said in an interview that he would prioritize returning the state patrol to “an elite level.”

“We must bring our Georgia State Patrol back to the elite level it always was. Somehow, I think it’s gotten worse over the last three years with a lack of leadership from the governor’s office,” he said.

The statement met with opposition from former GSP employees and gubernatorial candidates alike.

Republican nominee for governor Kandiss Taylor said:

Kemp said he would not allow attacks on the “elite men and women” who have “served our state admirably,” and last week a coalition of Georgia sheriffs and state legislators condemned Perdue’s remarks.

The coalition released the following statement:

“As sheriffs and local law enforcement leaders, we are disappointed by former Senator Perdue’s derogatory comments about our partners in the Georgia State Patrol. Every day we work with the Department of Public Safety to protect our communities and state, and today we stand shoulder to shoulder with the men and women who wear blue and gray. In these uncertain and dangerous times for law enforcement, we appreciate the strong support that Governor Kemp and his family have shown to the dedicated Georgians who wear the uniform.”

Sheriff James Hale – Oconee County
Sheriff Stephen Tinsley – Clinch County
Sheriff Stacy Jarrard — County Lumpkin
Sheriff Clark Millsap – County of Bartow
Sheriff Jeff Johnson – Dawson County
Sheriff Mike Jolley —Harris County
Sheriff Lenn Wood – Coweta County
Sheriff Rick Kelley – White County
Sheriff Neil Jump – Glynn County
Sheriff Jud Smith — Barrow County
Sheriff Robert Markley —Morgan County
Sheriff Dan Kilgore — Upson County
Sheriff Jim Proctor — Camden County
Sheriff Charles “Nick” Norton – County Lanier
Sheriff Chad Nichols – County of Rabun
Sheriff Clay Whittle – Columbia County
Sheriff Steve Thomas —Franklin County
Sheriff Ashley Paulk – County of Lowndes
Sheriff Joe Chapman — Walton County
Sheriff Jeff Watson —Taylor County
Sheriff Shane Tondee – Schley district

“Former Senator Perdue’s comments regarding the Georgia State Patrol are extremely disrespectful and show a blatant disregard for the excellence of our state law enforcement agencies. The General Assembly and Governor Kemp have always prioritized public safety and the support of our men and women in uniform. Along with the $5,000 increase in state law enforcement included in this year’s budget, numerous additional soldier schools over the years, and funding for the new Department of Public Safety headquarters, we’ve worked hard to give these heroes the tools—and strong support – to give a hand. You must protect our families, communities and our state. Department staff in particular deserve tremendous credit for their significant advances in the Crime Suppression Unit in Atlanta and other metro areas across the state. We stand with our Republican colleagues in the House and Senate, along with Governor Kemp and his family, behind the blue!”

  • Senator John Albers – Chairman of the Georgia Senate Public Safety Committee
  • Rep. J Collins – Chairman of Georgia House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee
  • Rep. Bill Hitchens – Chair of the Georgia House Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety, former commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety and 28-year veteran of the Georgia State Patrol

Perdue later doubled down and said: