Bulloch County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Jared Akins said Friday he intends to run for sheriff of Bulloch County, banking on years of experience within the department as well as having grown up with family members in local law enforcement and public safety.
Current Sheriff Lynn Anderson announced last week he will not seek reelection. Qualifying for the seat begins March 7.
Akins said he is familiar with the department and its functions and feels he is qualified to head the department as sheriff.
“Over the past 15 years, I have been privileged to serve the citizens of Bulloch County as a deputy, supervisor, investigator, and chief of the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office under Sheriff Anderson,” he said in a released statement provided to the Statesboro Herald.
“Aside from being a husband and father, this service has been the most important component of my life. Having grown up in a family of public servants, and having spent my entire adult life in the profession of law enforcement, I have truly found a home with your sheriff’s office.”
Akins’ father, the late Herman Akins, served 43 years with the Statesboro Fire Department, 37 of which he served as deputy chief. Jared’s mother, Sherri Akins, worked with the Bulloch County Clerk of Courts office for over 40 years, serving as clerk for over 20 years. His uncle, the late Arnold Ray Akins, held the office of Bulloch County’s sheriff for 24 years before deciding not to seek reelection in 2000.
The Bulloch County Sheriff’s “… deputies, all true professionals, are a second family to me and I can never fully express my gratitude to them for what they do every day for me and the citizens of Bulloch County,” Jared Akins said. “In Sheriff Anderson, I have found a mentor and teacher who has guided me through each stage of my career, and for that I am also truly grateful.”
He said he intends to maintain the level of professionalism and dedication to the county as his predecessors did.
“I (am running for office) for one reason; a desire to serve the citizens of Bulloch County in the same professional manner as sheriffs Anderson, Akins, Nevil, and many others over the past 220 years. These sheriffs have ensured that our community has remained a safe place in which to live and raise a family, and if elected, I pledge to do the same.”
Akins said he has put a great deal of thought into his plans if elected. “I give you my word that if elected sheriff, I will strive to always exceed these goals, working with citizens, other elected officials, and your deputies to do so.”
The county has grown, times have changed, and Akins said he has grown along with that progress regarding law enforcement.
He said he plans to combine “modern, proactive methods” with an “approachable, down-to-earth attitude.
“As Bulloch County grows, we will need to grow and change with it, becoming a stronger sheriff’s office, but we must never lose sight of what it means to truly serve the people,” he said. “Citizens of this county must always feel comfortable talking to their deputies and should always be able to turn to them for help with no hesitation,” he said.
He intends to be an “approachable, working sheriff,” leaning on experience. “I’ve spent a career working cases, responding to calls, and handling requests for assistance from citizens and those things will continue if I am elected sheriff; whether by phone or in person, at the office or out in public, I will be available and accessible to you:”
It doesn’t matter what town or city within the county a person resides – all are county residents, he said. “Whether you live in Portal, Stilson, Register, Statesboro, or any point in between I will serve you as I would any other citizen of Bulloch County. We live in a very diverse community with many different needs, and I will strive to meet each of these needs with your help.”
Akins also said he will respect the fact his office is run on funds provided by tax payers. “I realize that every dollar in our budget comes from you, the taxpaying citizens of this county; as such, I will treat these funds with great care and use them wisely; I will also use other revenues which do not come from taxpayers,” meaning drug forfeitures, grants, and other incomes, “to relieve as much of the tax burden as possible.”
If elected, he hopes to improve working conditions and benefits for deputies, working with county commissioners towards these goals as well as recruiting and retaining professional deputies. “I will also strive to continually improve training and equipment for our deputies. The citizens of this county deserve skilled, professional law enforcement and we must fight to reward the men and women who provide this vital service,” he said.
He said he appreciate the community’s support. “As I make this announcement, I am truly humbled by the kind words of support from the community that I have received. For 15 years the safety of our families and of this community has been my highest concern, and I will work each day to ensure that Bulloch County remains a place where good citizens and not criminals feel secure.”
Akins, 37, is married to Jahala Akins and has two sons – Grayson, 10, and Gavin, 6.
He graduated as a honor graduate from Statesboro High School, then from Georgia Southern University with a B.S. in Justice Studies, graduating Magna Cum Laude.
In working in law enforcement, Akins has trained and holds documentation as a certified jail deputy, certified peace officer, and has senior deputy certification through the Georgia Sheriff’s Association. He has had command staff training and chief deputy training through Georgia Sheriff’s Association; is a certified computer voice stress examiner and holds hostage negotiator certification.
Akins has also completed advanced homicide investigator training through the University of North Florida; child abuse/sexual assault investigations training and over 1500 hours of other professional training.
He served in 1995-2003 with the 1st Battalion/121st Infantry Regiment (GAANG).
On the civic side, Akins holds membership with the Kiwanis Club of Statesboro; Rotary Club of Downtown Statesboro; Bulloch Alcohol and Drug Council; the Beloved Community Project and the Department of Family and Children Regional Advisory Board.
As a patrol deputy and supervisor from 2001 to 2007, he “responded to all types of emergency calls for service, investigated misdemeanor and low-level felony offenses, functioned as a field training deputy for three years and training eight new deputies for three months each, and was promoted to corporal and assistant shift supervisor,” he said.
In 2007, he was a drug investigator with Bulloch County Drug Suppression Team, “assigned to investigate narcotics complaints countywide, conducted undercover buys of drugs, wrote search warrants for locations selling drugs, and conducted raids on known drug locations,: he said.
He served as investigator with the BCSO Criminal Investigation Division from 2008 to 2013, investigating “hundreds of felony criminal cases including thefts, crimes against children, financial crimes, sex crimes, and all types of violent crimes; homicides as primary investigator… and supervised the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office pawn shop detail searching for stolen property with tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of property recovered,” he said.
Named chief deputy in 2013, Akins functions as “an advisor on all matters to the sheriff on a daily basis” and is second in command.
He works with county commissioners, Bulloch County Public Safety Director Ted Wynn and others on budgetary and other matters.
Among his beliefs, Akins said “Criminals should fear the sheriff and his deputies and know that they will be pursued relentlessly for their crimes; honest citizens and taxpayers should feel at ease and know that their safety is in good hands
“The sheriff and his deputies must always remain trustworthy, honest, fair, and transparent; we will not tolerate misconduct and will be honest, forthright, and unbiased in all circumstances,” he said.
Other accomplishments Akins in which he has been involved include the organization of the Statesboro-Bulloch Crime Suppression Team; Formation of the Court Services Division to oversee court security at judicial facilities, service of warrants and civil papers, and prisoner transport to and from jails and prisons statewide; reformed K-9 units within the sheriff’s office with one canine for drug detection and the other specializing in tracking with an emphasis on locating elderly walk-aways and children along with criminals who have fled on foot.
Also, he was key in formation of the Community Relations Division that handles all DARE instruction, neighborhood watch seminars, community outreach to civic groups, Project Safe Kids, Project Lifesaver, and the Sheriff’s Explorer Program.
He helped reorganize the Sheriff’s Office T.A.C. (Tactical Apprehension and Control) Team to handle active shooter situations, hostage situations, high risk warrant service, and other emergency situations beyond the capacity of regular patrol deputies to handle; a look at the nightly news will make it obvious that the need is there for this type of capability
Qualification to run for the sheriff’s position begins March 7 and the election will take place May 24.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.