Jared Akins isn’t just a Sheriff’s candidate with a lengthy resume. Serving the greater Bulloch County area as Chief Deputy since 2013, Akins has been with the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office for 15 years. He touts his time there, after his family life, as the “most important component of his life” and in a one-on-one interview with AllOnGeorgia, Akins called it “home.”
His uncle, Arnold Ray Akins, was the Sheriff of Bulloch County for years, but that doesn’t overshadow the time Chief Deputy Akins has had in law enforcement. He’s worked patrol, investigations, and public relations. With a military background, over 1,500 hours of professional training, and serving second in command for the entire Sheriff’s Office operation – including the jail – Akins appears to be more than qualified for the job on paper, in tenure, and in practice.
But why does he want it?
The role of Chief Deputy has certainly prepared him for the position, but working under Sheriff Anderson, who has mentored Akins for much of his career, has fast-tracked Akins’ efforts to have a leadership role in the Office.
For the last four years, Akins has focused on everything from working with the County Commission with regard to the $10 million budget, helping oversee the nearly-500 bed jail, and ensuring the public has a more-than-adequate relationship with the office – and everything else in between.
Most importantly, Akins believes the most valuable asset of the Office is the deputies. He sees the value in recruiting the right people early on and working with them all the way through their career. The family-like environment is rampant in all aspects of the Office and one Akins wants to carry-on if he takes the helm. He touts the open-door policy the Office has catered to for years, and believes the deputies do as well. He attributes much of his success in his current role to that of the other employees at the Office who offer feedback and solutions on a regular basis. If elected Sheriff, those policies and procedures will remain, he says.
In addition to the accomplishments he brings to the table, Akins proposes several initiatives for the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office should he be elected:
- Combining modern, proactive methods of law enforcement with an approach, down to earth attitude
- Conducting himself as a visible, approachable, working Sheriff.
- Acting as Sheriff for ALL of Bulloch County
- Running a Sheriff’s Office which is responsible to taxpayers
- Improving the working conditions and benefits of our deputies
In his interview, Akins said he would like to move to a system to where deputy promotion, coupled with tenure, is associated with a pay increase.
Akins wants to make sure the municipalities and other jurisdictions continue to have a positive working relationship with each other. He says it hurts the law enforcement officers and the citizens when there’s a breakdown in communication among agencies. “It’s a comforting thing for our guys out there knowing anyone from another agency will show up if backup is needed. I think our Crime Suppression Team [a partnership between BCSO, Statesboro PD, and GSU] is an example of what you can do when you check the egos at the door and say this is a need that we have and we could probably do better at it together than separately.”
One of the bigger issues facing the Sheriff’s Office is the need for a larger jail to avoid having to send inmates to other jails in surrounding counties and pay those counties to house them. Akins has worked with the Commissioners alongside Sheriff Anderson to discuss what a new jail construction would look like and the subsequent budget constraints. Akins knows the clock is ticking and would like to see a firm plan in place to accommodate the growth for not only the county, but the jail. As Akins says, “We don’t want criminals to like that they’re locked up in our jail. If they don’t like it, fine. Please don’t come back.”
As Chief Deputy, his job is all encompassing and exceeds a typical ‘shift.’ The hours, the days, and the on-call status seem to have prepared Akins for the job he is seeking.
“Other than the military, I’ve never had another career,” Akins says. “And despite the saying ‘If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life’, some of these days, it really does feel like work. But as far as another profession, I can’t think of any other place I would rather be. And not just because of the people here. It’s the people in the community, too.”
Akins was born and raised in Bulloch County where he attended Statesboro High School and Georgia Southern University. He now lives in the outskirts of the county with his wife, Jahala, and their two children, Grayson and Gavin. He is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Statesboro, Rotary, Bulloch Alcohol and Drug Council, the Beloved Community Project, and DFACS Regional Advisory Board.
You can learn more about him by visiting his campaign website. The primary election will be held on May 24th and Sheriff Anderson’s term expires December 31, 2016. The deadline to register to vote is April 26, 2016.