Kenneth “Ode” Henderson is the new sheriff in Town

Election, Featured News, News
Henderson Sheriff

HIAWASSEE, Ga – 40 votes that’s all that separated the two sheriff candidates and sealed a victory for Kenneth “Ode” Henderson in Tuesday night’s runoff election.

Out of 3,720 votes cast, Henderson received 1,880, and his competition Daren “Bear” Osborn garnered 1,840.  He was officially declared the winner before 9:30 p.m.

Henderson carried two of the three Towns County Precincts – Young Harris and Hiawassee. Osborn won Macedonia.

The newly elected Sheriff faces zero democratic competition in November and will be sworn into office in January 2021. He will be replacing current Sheriff Chris Clinton, who decided not to run for reelection in 2019.

Currently, Henderson serves as the Chief of Police at Young Harris College and an officer for the city of McCaysville, Ga. He grew up in Towns County and campaigned on Second Amendment Rights, drug rehabilitation programs, ending the drug trade, community policing, training, law enforcement visibility, and availability.

Henderson said the following concerning his win on Facebook,

“I am absolutely so honored and humbled to be elected as your Towns County Sheriff! I so greatly appreciate the support, encouragement, endorsements, donations, all the hard work from my campaign team, and most importantly all of YOU for getting out and making your voice heard! To anything and anybody else that made this possible, a huge THANK YOU!!
As I’ve vowed from the beginning of my campaign, I will strive to do my very BEST to serve and protect this wonderful county with honesty, integrity and determination! Don’t hesitate to contact me for anything, and again THANK YOU TOWNS COUNTY for electing me your Sheriff! I won’t let you down!”

State Senate District 50

In another tight race that is still too close to call as of 11:52 p.m. on Tuesday Habersham Commissioner Stacy Hall and lawyer Bo Hatchett are separated by just 34 votes with 100 percent of the precincts reporting. Earlier in the night, Hall led Hatchett by 64 votes. Hall is committed to an election review of the race with several absentee and overseas ballots outstanding.

House of Representatives Ninth District

When it came down to two choices, the people of the Ninth District clearly chose Andrew Clyde over Ga-8 Rep. Matt Gurtler. Clyde received 56.28 percent of the vote with 95 percent reporting. Gurtler won 43.72 percent. Gurtler did carry Towns and Union County, his strongholds, but Clyde earned the majority of votes in at least 15 of the 20 Ninth District counties.

Clyde will now go on to face Democrat Devin Pandy in the November General Election. Pandy also won his runoff against Brooke Siskin with 68.38 percent of the vote.

To see vote totals by precinct, click here.

Feature image courtesy of Henderson for Sheriff Facebook.

 

 

 

 

16 Towns County candidates qualify for 2020 election

Election, News
Towns County 2020 qualifying

HIAWASSEE, Ga.- The qualifying period for multiple Towns County offices began Monday, March 2, with seven candidates filing the first day. Qualifying ended at noon, Friday, March 6, with a total of 16 candidates officially entering the county races.

The voter registration deadline to cast a ballot in the General Primary is April 20, 2020.

Click here to register to vote

The earliest date for voters to submit an absentee ballot in the General Primary is March 31, 2020.

Advanced-in-Person Early Voting begins on April 27, 2020.

The General Primary Election will take place on May 19, 2020.

A countywide SPLOST referendum and Hiawassee fluoride referendum for voters to decide will appear on the ballot.

Towns County Candidates:

COUNTY Qualifying

Towns County Office of Commissioner

Cliff Bradshaw (Incumbent – Republican)

Sheriff

Daren Osborn (Republican)

Kenneth Henderson (Republican)

Jim Couch (Republican)

Lisa Joseph (Republican)

Linda Curtis (Republican)

Towns County Office of Tax Commissioner

Bruce Rogers (Incumbent – Democrat)

J.C. Berrong (Republican)

Towns County Office of Coroner

Harold Copeland (Incumbent – Republican)

Tamela Cooper (Republican)

Towns County Clerk of Superior Court

Cecil Dye (Incumbent – Republican)

Towns County Magistrate/Probate Judge

David Rogers (Incumbent – Republican)

Towns County Board of Education

Post 1 – Macedonia

Brandon Grimsley (Non-Partisan)

Post 4 – At Large

Stephanie McConnell (Non-Partisan)

Post 5 – At Large

Stephen Green (Non-Partisan)

Caroleen Woods (Non-Partisan)

STATE Qualifying

District 8 State Representative

Stan Gunter (Republican)

Steve Townsend (Republican)

Dave Cooper (Democrat)

State Senate District 50

Andy Garrison (Republican)

Stacy Hall (Republican)

Bo Hatchett (Republican)

Tricia Lyne Hise (Republican)

Dee Daley (Democrat)

Dan Gasaway (Republican)

Public Service Commission District 4

Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, Jr. (Incumbent – Republican)

Nathan Wilson (Libertarian)

Daniel Blackman (Democrat)

John Noel (Democrat)

Judge of Superior Court Enotah Circuit

Joy R. Parks (Incumbent – Non-partisan)

FEDERAL Qualifying

Ninth District U.S. Congress

Michael Boggus (Republican)

Andrew Clyde (Republican)

Matt Gurtler (Republican)

Maria Strickland (Republican)

Kevin Tanner (Republican)

Ethan Underwood (Republican)

Devin Pandy (Democrat)

Paul Broun (Republican)

John Wilkinson (Republican)

Dan Wilson (Democrat)

Kellie Weeks (Republican)

Siskin (Democrat)

United States Senate – Perdue Seat

James Knox (Democrat)

Jon Ossoff (Democrat)

Teresa Pike Tomlinson (Democrat)

Tricia Carpenter McCracken (Democrat)

Sarah Riggs Amico (Democrat)

Shane Hazel (Libertarian)

Marc Keith DeJesus (Democrat)

Maya Dillard Smith (Democrat)

David Perdue (Incumbent – Republican)

United States Senate – Loeffler Seat (Special Election in November) 

Kelly Loeffler (Incumbent – Republican)

Doug Collins (Republican)

A. Wayne Johnson (Republican)

Kandiss Taylor (Republican)

Tamara Johnson-Shealey (Democrat)

Matt Lieberman (Democrat)

Joy Felicia Shade (Democrat)

Ed Tarver (Democrat)

Richard Dien Winfield (Democrat)

Al Bartell (Independent)

Allen Buckley (Independent)

Brian Slowinski (Libertarian)

Derrick E. Grayson (Republican)

Rod Mack (Write-In)

Annette Jackson (Republican)

Deborah Jackson (Democrat)

Jamesia James (Democrat)

Raphael Warnock (Democrat)

Michael Todd Green (Independent)

Valencia Stovall (Independent)

John “Green” Fortuin (Green)

The Presidential Preference Primary takes place on March 24, 2020, and early voting opened on March 2. The mandatory Saturday voting will be held on March 14.

Here’s a list of all the federal and state races that are qualifying in 2020. If needed, a General Primary run-off will take place on July 21, 2020.

Fetch Your News will keep updating this article as more candidates qualify.

 

Continue to follow FYN for up-to-date campaign coverage as the 2020 election cycle advances.

 

Sheriff candidate says improved patrol is needed

Election, News
Kenneth Ode Henderson

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Young Harris Police Chief Kenneth “Ode” Henderson, a contender for Towns County sheriff, spoke with the Mountain Movers and Shakers, Friday, Jan. 31. at Sundance Grill. Henderson has served as a law enforcement officer for 35 years, currently serving as chief of police at Young Harris College and as an officer with the City of McCaysville.

Henderson touched on several issues during the morning meeting, which was brimming to near-capacity with constituents.

“The State of Georgia says that I need 20 hours of training a year to keep my certification,” Henderson began. “I don’t think that’s enough. I think our officers need more training. I think nothing less than 40 (hours), if not more. I think that our officers need more training.” Henderson said that a variety of resources, as well as low-to-no cost training, is available to law enforcement officers through the State.

“Drugs will be my number one priority. All crime is a priority, but drugs are something we’ve got to address,” the Young Harris police chief stated, drawing applause from the crowd. Henderson added that an in-house drug agent is needed within the department.

Henderson fielded several questions from the Mountain Movers and Shakers, including one from Shirley Clinton, the mother of and executive secretary to retiring Sheriff Chris Clinton. “I think this is the best sheriff’s office we’ve ever had, so what would you do to improve on what’s already there, and where would you get the funds to do it?” Clinton asked the candidate.

Jim Couch - sheriff's election

Towns County Sheriff’s Office Executive Secretary Shirley Clinton with Road Patrol Captain Jim Couch, a candidate for sheriff.

“Well, I think we have to expand on that,” Henderson responded. “I think we have a good sheriff’s department, and like I said, I’m not here to point fingers at anybody, but I think as far as expanding on that, we have to also keep in mind our budget. We’ve got to stay within that budget, and I think that working with our commissioner, we keep within our budget, and you know, we move along, making sure we’re getting all the professional training that we can get, and keeping our guys as best as we can with training,”

Henderson emphasized the importance of cooperating with outside law enforcement agencies and working toward involvement with the community. The sheriff’s contender said that he plans to implement a cadet program for youth if elected. More so, Henderson included that he would compile a list of elderly residents to ensure their well-being by checking on them daily. “If we call and you don’t answer, we’re going to be up there to see why you didn’t answer,” Henderson assured.

Henderson raised the topic of patrol duties within the sheriff’s office.

“I’ve been out on the trail and talking to people. I’ve actually had people tell me that they have not seen a law car in their community in a year. I’ve had several people tell me that on Gumlog, that they have not seen a car, a law enforcement car in their area in a year. That’s not going to happen, guys,” Henderson said, adding that he will assign patrol units to communities. “And about one day a month, I’m going to try to go out and talk to the citizens and the people and say. ‘Hey, you seeing law cars? If not, it’s gonna change.’ That’s our job. It’s not our job to ride Hiawassee to Young Harris and back again, ok? That’s not doing the job.”

Henderson added that the patrol vehicles would be altered to black and white to increase visibility.

Henderson concluded by assuring the citizens that he supports the Second Amendment. “I will stand with the people of Towns County against anybody that would attempt to take your rights to the Second Amendment away,” the candidate vowed. “I would never, never stand with anybody or law that would go against your Second Amendment.”

Henderson added that if elected, he will strive to make Towns County Sheriff’s Office the best in Georgia. “I will not let you down. I will do the job, and I will do it well, and we will once again have a good sheriff’s department that’s respected.”

Due to time constraints, Mountain Movers and Shakers announced that Henderson would be invited to deliver a future address. Towns County sheriff’s candidates Daren “Bear” Osborn, who spoke at last week’s session, and Jim Couch attended the meeting.

 

Sheriff Clinton talks retirement: “Politics are a strange beast”

News
Sheriff Chris Clinton Towns County GA

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Days after announcing a decision to no longer seek re-election, Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton shared his plans beyond law enforcement on a radio broadcast, Monday, Nov. 25.

Sheriff Clinton announced intent to seek a fourth term as the county’s chief officer on Sept. 19, before the Towns County Republican Party, later retracting the bid via a social media post issued Friday, Nov. 22.

Clinton stated on live radio that it’s “time to move ahead and move forward,” adding that he has never been “much of a politician,” and looks forward to spending time with family post-retirement. Clinton revealed that he plans to share stories – along with a possible screenplay – based on the life of his late grandfather, and intends to release a second album of original songs.

Clinton listed his proudest achievements as acquired state accreditation by the Towns County Sheriff’s Office, the success of the annual Empty Stocking Fund, community support for Georgia Sheriffs’ Youth Homes, and the CLEA program as highlights of his 12-year career. The sheriff included that he is proud to have restored the “public trust lost in 2007” which led to Clinton taking office through a necessary special election, adding that crime statistics in Towns County have declined in the years that followed.

When asked regrets, Clinton said that the time spent away from his family rated high, and on a professional level, that better pay for officers, and an increase in the number of deputies is needed in the county.

Clinton signed off by stating that he intends to make good use of his final year in office. “We don’t care about politics anymore so be careful,” Clinton warned with a laugh, adding on a later broadcast that he intends to weigh-in on the upcoming election as the season advances. “I know what’s under the hood with these folks…,” Clinton said, predicting additional candidates may enter the race. “Politics are a strange beast.”

Archived articles on the subjects mentioned above can be found by clicking on the highlighted links.

Additional archives related to Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton are available here.

Follow FYN for current coverage as the 2020 election cycle continues.

 

 

 

 

Clinton drops out of 2020 sheriff’s race

News

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – In an unexpected turn of events, Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton announced on his Facebook page Friday afternoon, Nov. 22, that he will no longer seek re-election in the 2020 sheriff’s race. Clinton’s announcement follows in its entirety.

“Sometimes, we get so busy doing things that others want us to do that we forget to listen to that still, small voice that should guide the faithful along,” Clinton wrote. “Crystal and I seem to be better at serving others than we are at taking care of our own health. I am humbled at the faith so many have in me, but I also feel the time has come for my family to move on to another chapter in our lives and I will no longer be seeking re-election as sheriff.

“I will always be thankful for some of the lasting friendships I have made – so many people I would have never met that have worked so hard to do so much for others. I will always cherish those memories and am a better man for the experience. There are some truly wonderful people in this area. I am honored to have gotten to know so many of them.

“The past three years have been especially difficult for my family. After taking care of my grandfather for the last two years of his life, we suddenly lost him and our friend and band mate in January, as well as two other family friends, all within about a month. Life is short and precious. The weight of it all has taken a toll on my health and my family’s well-being. While the community can find another to serve as sheriff, my wife and children only have me and it is time that I return to being just a husband and dad. It is time for our family to seek the things God has left for us to accomplish. One thing Crystal and I have left to do is raise a little boy and we would like to do that without the distraction of politics and all that comes with it.

“I am thankful for those who have placed their trust in me all these years. I am thankful for the superb staff at the sheriff’s office and for all of our volunteers who serve in so many ways. I intend to continue to offer Citizen Law Enforcement Academy courses in the coming year in the hope that the program will continue. We are beginning another effort to provide Christmas gifts for Towns County’s less fortunate children through the Towns County Sheriff’s Empty Stocking Fund and I hope I can count on all of you to continue to support these children again this year.

“I look forward to 2020 being the best of the thirteen years entrusted to me as Sheriff of Towns County and pray God’s continued blessings on our community.”

Follow FYN for additional information as it becomes available.

Sheriff’s wife publicly names challenging candidate as rumor source

News

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Words can lead to dire consequences, and that may prove to be the case for Crystal Clinton, wife of Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton. In response to a social media post dated Oct. 20, Ms. Clinton fired online allegations at 2020 sheriff’s challenger Daren “Bear” Osborn, accusing the candidate of starting a pervasive rumor that Sheriff Clinton sought treatment for drug addiction. Ms. Clinton publicly claimed that she learned the source of the widespread rumor through an estranged relative who supervises Osborn’s law enforcement division in a neighboring county.

FetchYourNews (FYN) met with Osborn and his supervisor Nov. 1, both of whom adamantly denied Ms. Clinton’s allegations. “I did not start the rumor,” Osborn asserted. Osborn’s supervisor explained that she, like many in the community, heard talk of the sheriff’s alleged stint at a rehabilitation facility long before the topic was broached by Osborn, and attempted to learn firsthand whether the hearsay held weight through the Clinton clan.

FYN followed a similar course of action in late February, offering Sheriff Clinton an opportunity to address the rampant rumor of addiction after inquiries on his whereabouts poured into FYN from dozens of concerned citizens. Sheriff Clinton ceased communication with FYN at that time.

Crystal Clinton

A controversial screenshot posted to the Facebook group, “Make Towns County Great Again, vote out Chris Clinton.”

The sheriff’s spouse continued on in reference to Towns County’s “safety officer,” Emergency Management Agency-Homeland Security Director Brandon Walls, publicly alleging that the appointed official is a “convicted felon” and insinuating that Walls should not be trusted to hold the county position. “The only statement I will make at this time is that her accusation is false,” Walls said.

Developments are expected as a result of what the parties involved consider defamation.

Ms. Clinton did not respond to FYN’s request for comment, issued via email through Sheriff Clinton, prior to publication.

 

FetchYourNews.com attracts over 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month with a 60,000 Facebook page reach, and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com

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Osborn releases platform as Towns County sheriff’s race begins

News, Politics
Towns County Sheriff Election

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Daren “Bear” Osborn, a challenger in the Towns County sheriff’s race, took to social media Oct. 16, sharing his logic for seeking office in the 2020 election. Osborn listed multiple goals and objectives, including advanced training within the law enforcement agency, the importance of cooperation between the sheriff’s office and local emergency departments, school safety improvements, and developing a community-oriented anti-drug coalition for people suffering from substance abuse.

“Towns County deserves a working sheriff, one who will actively serve the community in uniform, and I hope to fulfill that position,” Osborn told FYN. The Republican candidate added that he intends to be a “visible” sheriff, and plans to continue his involvement in the community if elected.

While Osborn did not mention incumbent Sheriff Chris Clinton, the sheriff’s candidate expressed platform-related concerns in the past. Osborn gained publicity earlier this year in connection to a highly-controversial fatal accident that many, including Osborn, believe could have been prevented by the Towns County Sheriff’s Office through proper training.

Daren Bear Osborn

Daren “Bear” Osborn

FYN later reported that Towns County Sheriff’s Office deputies declined participation in two training seminars held within the county: ARIDE training – an acronym for Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement – which was offered in Hiawassee, and school security training held in Young Harris. Sheriff Clinton was extended an invitation to speak at the security event, hosted by Habersham County Sheriff’s Office, yet he did not make an appearance at the state course. Osborn previously labeled the “missed opportunities” as such.

Furthermore, Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton drew negative publicity in 2018, following what many in the community considered a botched Towns County Schools active shooter drill. Dozens of first responders from Hiawassee Police Department, Towns County Fire and Rescue, Towns County Emergency Medical Services, and Towns County Emergency Management Agency expressed disapproval – based on exclusion from participation in the campus drill – describing Clinton’s approach as a habitual, “lone ranger” tactic. “This is not the way training should be done,” Osborn remarked last year on social media. “You have to work together as a team or the mission will not be accomplished.” Towns County first responders, including department heads, continue to note a general lack of communication and poor cooperation from Sheriff Clinton with local emergency agencies, an issue that Osborn promised to remedy if elected.

Osborn listed the following goals and objectives as his campaign platform:

– Be a full-time “Working Sheriff” in a Class A uniform.
– Drive a marked patrol vehicle to be highly visible to the public.
– Develop a community oriented anti-drug coalition for people suffering from substance abuse. Good people can get addicted. We want to save these people.
– Establish a strong relationship with our Homeowner Associations, encouraging neighborhood watch programs. Provide security check lists for homeowners and security checks.
– Re-establish strong working relationships with all surrounding law enforcement agencies, as well as the fire department, EMS, and 911 center.
– Establish regularly scheduled training with outside law enforcement agencies and public safety, such as SWAT training, active shooter, and felony warrant service.
– Provide additional training for all deputies for job specific assignments, patrol investigations, courthouse, and school resource officers.
– Implement a minimum annual training level which exceeds the current Georgia mandated training of 20 hours per year.
– Deputies will receive training from POST (Peace Officer Standards & Training) certified instructors, NOT online webinars!
– Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) for all deputies – to help those suffering from mental health issues which law enforcement commonly encounters.
– Host regional law enforcement training for all agencies.
– Work with school officials to ensure the safety of our children and staff, as well as visitors to our schools.
– Work with commissioner to establish and fund an animal control deputy.

A second challenger, Kenneth “Ode” Henderson, entered the Towns County sheriff’s race Oct. 15.

Article archives can be found by clicking the highlighted links above.

 

Bipartisan support apparent as Osborn launches sheriff’s campaign

Opinion
Osborn vs Clinton

EDITORIAL – Daren “Bear” Osborn officially launched his campaign Oct. 11, challenging Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton in the 2020 sheriff’s election, and immediate support for the opposition candidate is proving widespread. The social media response to the veteran law enforcement officer’s announcement has revealed an outpouring of mixed approval from known Republican and Democratic constituents.

Daren Bear Osborn

Daren “Bear” Osborn

Over the weekend, several hundred supporters from both sides of the political aisle favorably reacted, commented, and eagerly shared the news of Osborn’s entry into the now-contested election through social media. Remarks ranging from simple “congratulations” to overt endorsements calling for a change in leadership have surfaced in response to the publicized announcement. When asked by FYN about the outreach of bipartisan support, Osborn said that he devoted himself to a “person to person” approach prior to Friday’s formal declaration of candidacy. “You get more honest results that way,” Osborn confided.

Osborn, who challenged Clinton via the Democratic ticket in the 2012 general election, intends to campaign and run as a Republican candidate in the May 2020 primary. Osborn explained that while he has always identified as a conservative, the views of the present-day Democratic Party have shifted significantly from his moral stance, prompting his political affiliation transition.  The sheriff’s candidate was chosen as a Towns County Republican Party district delegate for the Macedonia precinct in March 2019.

Osborn’s platform, in part, includes plans to serve Towns County as a working sheriff. “Our community deserves a working sheriff that is dedicated, fair, and will ensure quality law enforcement for Towns County citizens and visitors alike,” Osborn stated on Friday.

Osborn – a Towns County native who has served in law enforcement for 33 years – has been employed as a sheriff’s deputy and criminal investigator in neighboring Union County since 2013.

Osborn is the sole challenger in the Towns County sheriff’s race at this time. According to the Towns County Board of Elections, the earliest date to qualify for candidacy is March 2, 2020.

Related Archive:

Clinton receives unfavorable response to campaign announcement

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Osborn enters Towns County sheriff’s race

News
Daren Bear Osborn

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Daren “Bear” Osborn officially announced intent to challenge incumbent Sheriff Chris Clinton in the 2020 Towns County sheriff’s race.

“Our community deserves a working sheriff that is dedicated, fair, and will ensure quality law enforcement for Towns County citizens and visitors alike,” Osborn told FYN.

The Towns County native began his career in law enforcement in 1986, and has served as a deputy and criminal investigator with neighboring Union County Sheriff’s Office since 2013.

Osborn said that in order to be a leader, one must first be a servant, and that he strives to offer his experience and service to the citizens of Towns County. Coupled with the community support that he has received over the past several years, Osborn explained that it encouraged his decision to seek office.

Osborn, who previously ran for sheriff in the 2012 general election, presently represents the Macedonia district as a Towns County Republican Party delegate chairman.

“I will be the change you need and the voice you deserve,” Osborn publicly stated.

Osborn is the sole challenger in the Towns County sheriff’s race thus far.

 

Click for Daren Osborn archives

 

FetchYourNews.com attracts over 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month with a 60,000 Facebook page reach, and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com

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Clinton receives unfavorable response to campaign announcement

Opinion
sheriff

EDITORIAL – Mountain Movers and Shakers announced Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton will be their featured speaker at the group’s weekly meeting, Sept. 27. The agenda follows the sheriff’s proclamation before the Towns County Republican Party last week, stating intent to seek re-election in 2020.

If the public’s initial response to the elected official’s announcement is any indication of an approval rating, Clinton’s campaign could prove to be a challenge.

“Perhaps (Sheriff Clinton) will fill us in on the events and expected traffic for the next few months,” Mark Wolchko, a spokesman for Mountain Movers and Shakers, predicted in a press release. “Maybe he will enlighten us about the latest CLEA class. Possibly he will let us know about equipment upgrades in the sheriff’s department. Or maybe he will give us the lowdown on the next appearance of The Chris Clinton Band.”

CLEA, an acronym for the Citizen Law Enforcement Academy, consists primarily of “move-in” retirees whom Sheriff Clinton has referred to as personal “lobbyists” in the past. The group additionally serves as charity fund raisers and security staff at local events, such as concerts at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds.

The majority of Mountain Movers and Shakers’ active participants are CLEA alumni.

Sheriff Clinton shined a spotlight on CLEA during his GOP campaign announcement Thursday evening at the Towns County Civic Center.

“How many folks here have been through CLEA? Do you mind raising your hands? Every group I go to in the county, everywhere we go, I got people sitting in the group that’s been through the citizen law enforcement academy,” Clinton said. “These volunteers, by the end of the year, we hit about 2,000 hours, or about what would amount to me having to ask our commissioner for the $51,000, if we were going to do it ourselves, is being done by volunteers because we have men and women who believe in what we’re doing at the sheriff’s office.”

Should Clinton choose to promote his band at Friday’s meeting, however, citizen feedback could prove less than favorable.

sheriff

Sheriff Clinton performing on town square in July 2018.

Widespread disapproval of The Chris Clinton Band’s schedule was brought to FetchYourNews’ attention in relation to the 2017 “Great American Eclipse,” an event that was anticipated by Clinton to draw thousands of solar enthusiasts to the Towns County area. Sheriff Clinton, who performs with his wife in the now two-man band, opted to host a concert at a local establishment during the highly publicized event. Members of the Towns County Homeowners’ Association – since renamed the Towns County Civic Association – along with numerous first responders, voiced stern criticism toward Clinton’s priorities.

Chris Clinton - Sheriff

Promotion for the Chris Clinton Band’s 2017 eclipse event.

Scrutiny later emerged in July 2018, following a band performance that corresponded with a deputy missing in action, along with a county inmate, during a wilderness search for alleged human remains near Brasstown Bald.

Public comments concerning the Clintons’ “small business” and the sheriff’s elected performance continue to appear on social media in response to the official’s recent bid for re-election.

Click to read comments and view reactions on original post.

While no contenders for the Office of the Sheriff have entered the race at this time, challengers are expected to announce candidacy in coming weeks.

Sheriff Clinton is scheduled to address Mountain Movers and Shakers this Friday at 8 a.m. at Sundance Grill in Hiawassee.

Meetings are open to the public.

Sheriff Clinton Archives

Feature Image: Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton draws tickets for door prizes at Thursday’s GOP meeting.

Sheriff Clinton compares jail discipline to Marine Corps protocol

News

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton took to the WJUL radio airways Friday, Sept. 13 to share his favorable views on California’s legislation to ban private prisons. Sheriff Clinton included information on discipline requirements for inmates detained at the Towns County Detention Center.

Sheriff Clinton

Sheriff Chris Clinton

“When you walk back into one of our pods, the inmates snap to attention,” Clinton said. “They announce attention on deck. It’s like a Marine Corps parade deck. Head and eyes straight forward, thumbs on the side, on the seam of their trousers. They’re not allowed to follow you with their eyes, first and last things out of their mouth better be sir or ma’am. And we do that for a reason. It’s a security thing. Inmates fight when they’re scared. As our jail commander likes to tell folks when we bring them through a tour of our jail, they don’t fight in our jail because in our jail, an inmate would have to ask permission to fight first, and we’re not going to give it to them so they don’t just even bother.”

Towns County’s sheriff additionally voiced support for California’s recent bill to abolish private prison facilities, which if signed as expected by California Governor Gavin Newsom, will prohibit the state government from entering into or renewing contracts with private, for-profit prisons to incarcerate state inmates.

“The way the Constitution works, when you’re housing an inmate – like the sheriff, if I house that inmate somewhere else – I’m still responsible for that inmate, and so I’m not a fan of turning the responsibility of the inmate over to some private sector that has no duty. The sheriff has a duty to keep these inmates safe. I just don’t think it’s good,” Clinton said.

According to research, The Georgia Department of Corrections holds current contracts with two private prison companies: Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Corporation. The facilities are contracted to house a total of 7,974 offenders in four private facilities.

 

Feature Image: Towns County Detention Center

 

New information on Towns County Sheriff’s Office training discovered

News
Towns County Sheriff's Office

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – FetchYourNews (FYN) opened an investigation into the death of Terry Samuel Silvers, a father of six known to suffer from substance abuse, shortly after an accident claimed the Hiawassee resident’s life Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019. The fatal collision left two victims injured, an eyewitness traumatized, and the community questioning whether Towns County Sheriff’s Office should have done more to prevent the tragedy.

Towns County Deputy Corporal Gregory Joseph responded to two prior accidents involving Silvers, releasing the now-deceased on both occassions without charges, despite widespread knowledge of Silvers’ drug use, and testimonies from several witnesses who claimed Silvers was obviously under the influence of intoxicants at the time of both incidents.

New information recently updated by Georgia’s Peace Officer’s Standards and Training (POST) reveals that the deputy in question attended six hours of drug-impared detection training through the Prosecuting Attorney’s Council of Georgia (PAC) a week prior to a late-November, 2018, roll-over accident involving Silvers. As in the case of a subsequent incident in which Deputy Joseph responded, occurring on the evening before Silvers’ death, Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) was conducted, a test which does not properly indicate drug impairment.

A two-day Advanced Roadside Impairment Detection Enforcement (ARIDE) course for law enforcement is scheduled in Hiawassee next week. According to a document obtained by FYN on May 16 from the Georgia Public Safety Training Center (GPSTC), there is no record of Towns County Sheriff’s Office deputies listed as upcoming participants. Of note, four Hiawassee police officers plan to attend the training, two of whom trained in the past.

During the course of our investigation, FYN conducted numerous interviews with former deputies of the Towns County Sheriff’s Office who unanimously cited lack of training and leadership as reasons for their resignations.

As seen in Corporal Joseph’s body camera footage from Nov. 27, witness Belinda Munger is heard telling the deputy that Silvers had a habit of driving under the influence of intoxicants, posing a danger to innocent citizens. Also in question is a telephone call answered by the responding deputy during the incident.

“I was woken up to the sound of shattering glass,” Munger told FYN, shortly after Silvers’ death. “I jumped out of bed, ran to my kitchen to see what was going on. I looked out my window and saw Terry’s truck hanging off my bank, almost going through my mother’s house. I called 911 while putting my shoes on to head out the door. Terry had gotten off in the ditch, taken out the neighbor’s mailbox, continuing down the ditch, hitting tree stumps which caused his truck to flip. He was so heavily medicated, he did not realize that he had even flipped his truck.

“He asked if someone could pull his truck out so he could go home. Officer Joseph arrives on scene. I explained what had happened and let them know that it was obvious; he was under the influence of pills. The officer asked Terry for his ID. Terry stumbles to get to his vehicle, where he searched for a long while for his ID and insurance. I asked the officer if he saw Terry stumbling as he walked to his vehicle, but the officer did not even acknowledge what I said. Another officer arrived on scene and I advised him of what was going on, also that they needed to test him. I was very open with letting them know how ridiculous it was that they did not think anything was wrong with Terry. It was very obvious, he couldn’t even hardly keep his eyes open and was slurring his speech.

“The ambulance arrived, and Terry refused to let him transport or check him,” Munger continued. “They as well could tell he was medicated and nothing would be done. The other officer advised Officer Joseph that I was upset, and that I wanted him tested. Officer Joseph came back to tell me he had checked out fine, but I knew different. Then, I asked both officers, ‘Will it take him killing someone for you all to do something with him?’ I told them how ridiculous it was that, once again, they were letting him go free knowing how he was under the influence of pills… Later that day, I reached out to Sheriff Clinton one last time, and left a message with his secretary. But like usual, there was no attempt of a return phone call from the sheriff.” Munger can be heard in the video, telling the deputy that Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton should be contacted before Silvers’ “kills someone.”

Approximately three months later, the evening prior to the fatal crash, Silvers was involved in an additional accident on Bugscuffle Road in which Deputy Joseph responded. Again, Silvers was released by Towns County Sheriff’s Office. The property damaged in the Feb. 22, belongs to neighboring Union County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Daren “Bear” Osborn. “Based on my training and experience, 32 years, I recognized (Terry) was in no shape to drive due to his condition,” the off-duty deputy explained in March. “What strikes me as odd is that an alco sensor and HGN was done which does not indicate drug use.” Osborn described Silvers as exhibiting confused behavior while showing evident signs of impaired judgment.

An “alco sensor” is commonly known as breathalizer. Family members and friends of Silvers stated that Terry was not a drinker, but recognized in the community and to law enforcement as an opioid user. North Carolina Medical Examiner’s Office did not perform a post-mortem screen on Silvers for narcotics, however, opting to only conduct ethanol testing for alcohol.

John Bagley, a witness who spoke with FYN shortly after the tragedy agreed with Lt. Osborn, stating that Silvers was clearly unfit to drive on the night prior to his death. “(Terry) wrecked right across from my house,” Bagley said. “He was in no shape to be driving. I think there should have been additional tests done. It could have saved his life.”

WXIA – 11 (11Alive News) will broadcast a televised investigation into Terry Silvers’ death, beginning Tuesday, May 21, at 11 pm. An in-depth segment will follow Sunday, May 26.

Below is the disturbing 911 audio previously released by FYN from the night of the fatal crash…

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23f_zncSj5g[/embedyt]

 

 

 

 

Towns County Sheriff fails to set record straight; alludes to rumors on social media

Opinion

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Following repeated, failed attempts to obtain firsthand information from Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton, Fetch Your News (FYN) is obligated to report what we can confirm. Sheriff Clinton made it clear Feb. 22, that he has no intention of addressing the concerns of Towns County citizens if presented with questions by our investigative news team.

“You can tell them that Fetch Your News is not my mouth piece,” Clinton lashed when FYN requested to speak with the elected official in Hiawassee Friday morning. The comment followed ignored, emailed requests to meet with the leader. FYN was not provided an opportunity to pose any questions prior to the sheriff dashing out of the building. FYN has attempted to gain pertinent information from Sheriff Clinton on several topics of citizen importance for many months to no avail.

FYN maintains cordial relationships with the sheriffs in our 10 adjoining counties of coverage. Law enforcement officials in surrounding areas, including the city department, have proven to run transparent divisions, responding to requests for information when questions arise. While deputies and staff within the Towns County Sheriff’s Office make an earnest effort to inform the public, retrieving information from the sheriff himself has proven uneventful for FYN.

As strong supporters of law enforcement, it is FYN’s sincere regret to have reached this point in our reporting. When our organization receives overwhelming inquiries on the same subject matter, however, it is our policy to contact the individual in question in order to provide an opportunity to set the record straight, an invitation which FYN has diligently extended to Towns County’s lead officer.

It is never our intent to foster conflict in our dissemination of information, and FYN remains an open platform for public leaders to voice their views. While FYN stresses the innate difficulty attached in releasing this report, Sheriff Clinton’s uncooperative disposition branches beyond the scope of the media. FYN initially reported similar concerns regarding the sheriff”s disposition from multiple, local emergency agencies in March 2018, following a school lock-down drill. Critics referred to the operation as an ongoing “lone ranger” act by the elected official.

“Where is Sheriff Clinton?” is a resounding question that no one seems capable of answering, and one that the sheriff has refused to address in the past. Scrutiny regarding Sheriff Clinton’s lack of visibility as the county’s chief law enforcement officer, outside of speaking engagements, was brought to the attention of FYN by dozens of citizens, including members of the Towns County Homeowners Association (since renamed Towns County Civic Association), as early as 2017. While few will likely dispute that Clinton is anything less than a skilled public speaker, citizens and government employees attest to habitual absences from his offices and the field.

Unrelenting rumors regarding the sheriff’s activity began to swirl within the community in late 2018, with a multitude of citizens continuing to contact FYN for accurate information. Sheriff Clinton’s reclusive and defensive nature led FYN to uncover themed-speculation from solid sources, prompting FYN to actively pursue direct contact with the lead lawman in expectation of quietly quelling the rampant hearsay.

Known for its accuracy, FYN does not engage in reporting unsubstantiated allegations. What is indisputable, however, is that Sheriff Clinton has refused to address the citizens on any matter through the region’s fastest growing news network. Coupled with Clinton’s denial to provide information on basic matters, it unfortunately leaves one to ponder what the public official may not want known.

Following the brief encounter with FYN, Clinton alluded to “rumors” and “facts” on social media Friday evening without providing substance. As an official who once stated that he prefers to “write my own news,” a blog that was launched by the sheriff in early December remains sparse of information.

It cannot be stated strongly enough that FYN is not validating any accusations directed toward the sheriff by publishing this piece. It is our duty, however, to provide the public with the information obtained. FYN harbors no ill will toward the public official, and will continue to hope for an outcome that will provide the citizens with the answers sought.

Despite ironclad evidence, Sheriff Clinton has been quick to parrot popular phrases in the past such as “fake news” and “drive-by media” as an alternative to accountability. It is anticipated that this report may garner a similar response from the constitutionally-elected officer.

FYN will continue to provide accurate information for the citizens that we serve should it become available.

Whereabouts of Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton still in question

News
Towns County Sheriff

HIAWASSEE, Ga – “Where is Sheriff Clinton?” has been a resounding question in the community for many months, if not years, and it is an inquiry no one seems capable, or willing, to answer. FetchYourNews (FYN) began looking into the schedule of Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton in late February after rumors began to swirl on the lead lawman’s whereabouts, leading to an editorial article which unfortunately offered little insight. Three months later, the query into how the elected official spends his time mostly remains a mystery.

Sheriff Chris Clinton

Sheriff Chris Clinton’s on-duty call log hours from March, 2018 to March, 2019

On March 15, FYN filed an open records request with Towns County 911, seeking information on the sheriff’s on-duty call log for the previous year. Records show that Sheriff Clinton served less than 31 hours on-duty, and over 8801 hours off-duty, in a year’s time. Sheriff Clinton responded to a scarce eight calls in the annual period reviewed, two of which occurred after our story broke. Towns County Sheriff’s Office logged approximately 25,000 calls during the period in question, although many thousands were the result of business patrols and license plate checks.
Seeking answers, FYN filed an open records request with the Towns County Sheriff’s Office to review the chief officer’s annual calendar immediately thereafter.
FYN was met with the following, emailed reply from Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton:

“In reference to your open records request, the Office of Sheriff does not maintain a calendar for the sheriff.  The sheriff’s wife maintains a family calendar that the sheriff appears on.  The sheriff is the only person who can provide the information requested. It is estimated that the request will require 91.25 hours of the sheriff’s time at the sheriff’s hourly rate of $7.38/hour to perform the task requested.  The estimate is based on retrieval and printing for redaction, redacting, and scanning into an electronic form.

 

“There are an estimated 365 pages of material to be printed at $0.10 / page,” Clinton continued. “Estimated cost to fulfill the request: Sheriff’s time to access, retrieve, print, redact, and scan to electronic form per your request — approximately 91.25 hours @ $7.38/hour = $ 673.43  (You will not be charged for the first 15 minutes.) 365 pages @ $0.10 / page = $36.50. Total estimated cost = $709.93.”

Towns County Sheriff's Office

11Alive Chief Investigator Brendan Keefe’s social media page

In lieu of paying what FYN considered an excessive fee for public information, FYN sent an additional request to the Towns County Sheriff to visually review the original copy of the elected official’s appointments, a request which went ignored. On FYN’s third attempt, which was carbon copied to 11Alive News in Atlanta, Towns County Sheriff’s Administrator Vicki Ellis referred FYN to Towns County Sheriff’s Executive Secretary Shirley Clinton, the sheriff’s mother, who scheduled an appointment to review the calendar housed in the sheriff’s courthouse office.

An inspection of the calendar on May 22 proved futile as page after page revealed no entries. Occassional meetings appeared, along with multiple, weekly radio station appearances, and mandatory training engagements. Citizen Law Enforcement Academy (CLEA) appointments were listed throughout, a group which consists primarily of retired residents that the sheriff has referred to in the past as personal “lobbyists.”

Sheriff Chris Clinton

An entry on the sheriff’s sparse calendar

Dozens upon dozens of citizens, government employees – including many law enforcement officers – and media sources report habitual absences from Sheriff Chris Clinton at the Towns County Courthouse and Towns County Detention Center, along with an inability to receive replies from the sheriff via email or phone call when questions or issues arise. Towns County’s FYN reporter and 11Alive News Chief Investigator Brendan Keefe have attempted to contact the sheriff on numerous occassions, in order to disseminate information sought by the citizens, to no avail.
11Alive News is scheduled to broadcast an in-depth segment on the Towns County Sheriff’s Office, in relation to the fatal accident of Hiawassee resident Terry Silvers, on Sunday, May 26, at 6 pm.

Sheriff compares migrant invasion to an act of war

News
Sheriff Chris Clinton

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton reverberated recent concerns during a scheduled appearance before the Towns County Republican Party Thursday, Nov. 15, warning of what he believes are imminent dangers, particularly those attached to the migrant caravans swarming the southern U.S. border.

Sheriff Chris Clinton

Social media post from Oct. 11, citing an additional U.S. Code

Sheriff Clinton maintained that the caravan is a choreographed invasion spun into play by left-wing operatives in an effort to gain a tighter chokehold on the future of America. The sheriff adamantly reiterated that violent gang members, specifically those affiliated with brutal El Salvadorian MS-13, are among the South American insurgents seeking entry.

The brazen sheriff stressed that the threat of political violence erupting, propelled by radical agitators, is a legitimate cause for consternation.

“Invasion is an act of war,” Clinton asserted, referencing 18 U.S Code § 2381, adding that government officials aiding in an insurrection are subject to charges, “Treason is punishable by death, but certainly you can’t hold office.”

Sheriff Clinton openly admitted that his unwaivering posture has drawn harsh criticism from detractors. “They hate Towns County. They hate me,” the sheriff stated, divulging that he has been accused of fear mongering, “I don’t do this job to keep me safe…I love America, I love Towns County, and I stand bold.”

In addition to speaking on gangs and the migrant caravan, Clinton discussed gun laws, the opioid epidemic, and the recent midterm elections.

 

 

Feature Photo: Razor wire installed along the southern U.S. border – Credit: RT

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet, attracting more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Towns, Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, and Murray counties, as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. –

For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at [email protected]

 

 

 

Towns County Sheriff endorses Kemp, considers Abrams “clear and present danger” to way of life

News

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton officially endorsed Republican Gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp, stating that it is, “imperative that we protect our state from the insane radicals who would fundamentally change our state, our nation, and even our beloved county…”

“In my brief 50 years, I have not witnessed a time when America was so polarized,” Sheriff Clinton explained, “We live in a time when the mainstream media is actively and openly lying to viewers. We find ourselves living in a day when public officials appear to be encouraging insurrection, perhaps even treason. The left is no longer interested in civil discourse. Evelyn Beatrice Hall’s famous statement, ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I defend to the death your right to say it’ is no longer spoken of in the halls of higher learning. Rather, the left has resorted to the use of paid mobs to bully and intimidate conservatives. Most of us were taught to believe in absolute truth. We are now told we should sit down and shut up as the so-called ‘narrative’ of the left trumps any and all fact. ‘Guilty until proven innocent’ appears to be the new motto of the left.”

Sheriff Chris Clinton Towns County GA

Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton

“Most of us were taught right from wrong, taught to fear God, to respect others, to tell the truth, and many of us were advised that if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all,” Clinton continued, “We were taught to love our country.  In school we learned how our nation’s founders risked their reputations, fortunes, lives, and the lives of their sons to purchase with blood the freedom guaranteed by the Constitution of these United States of America.   These wonderful human beings we call police officers, who place their lives on the line each shift, leaving their own precious families at home to go out and protect others, were the good guys.  We taught our children to trust them and reach out to them if they needed help.  Now children are being taught to fear the police.  Who will they turn to for help?”

“These values represent the Georgia and America that I love and believe in,” the sheriff expressed,  “This is the state and nation in which I grew up and want to raise my children in.  Our home and heritage are currently under siege by the left.  My friend Brian Kemp shares our belief in the greatness of Georgia and America. His opponent, a socialist, wants to erase the Georgia we know and love.  Whereas Brian Kemp has been a friend to Georgia law enforcement, a friend to Towns County and a friend to all Georgians, his opponent is currently suing Georgia in an apparent attempt to find some liberal judge who will allow illegals and non-Georgia citizens to vote in our elections.

“Many Georgians may not know that Barack Hussein Obama’s Department of Homeland Security attempted to hack into our state elections database during the 2016 elections.  Brian Kemp, our Secretary of State, not only stopped them, but under his leadership, the malicious attacks were traced  back to the DHS.  All we heard on the news were red herring reports of ‘Russian collusion.’ The appointed leftist leaders of the formerly revered FBI, were not only leaking information to the press, but were apparently intentionally deceiving federal judges, and the America people with a phony, paid for, deception.  The very same folks were simultaneously clearing Hillary Clinton of any wrong-doing prior to even an interview.  Think about that: the FBI being used as a political weapon.  That is the vision the left has for Georgia and America.”

“These are just some of the reasons it is imperative that we elect Brian Kemp our Governor of Georgia.  I have known Brian personally for many years,” Sheriff Clinton stated, “I consider Brian Kemp a friend and can attest to his deeply held conservative beliefs and values.   More importantly, Brian Kemp is an unflinching leader who is unafraid to speak the truth in the face of a malicious press.  I would be honored to call my friend Brian Kemp my governor.  Brian Kemp is a proven leader we can count on. His opponent presents what I consider a clear and present danger to our very way of life.”

Clinton encouraged voters to elect a team that will support a Brian Kemp administration.

“We cannot allow the insane behavior that has been occurring in Washington, D.C. to infect the State of Georgia,” Clinton concluded,  “I cannot state this strongly enough: to protect Georgia as we know it, we must elect Brian Kemp our Governor, Chris Carr for Attorney General, Geoff Duncan for Lieutenant Governor, and Brad Raffensburger for Secretary of State.  It is imperative that we protect our state from the insane radicals who would fundamentally change our state, our nation, and even our beloved county into a place I wouldn’t want to live, much less raise my children in.  Please stand with me and let us finish this drill by electing conservative, God-fearing, Republican candidates who will protect Georgia.”

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Towns, Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. – For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at [email protected]

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