Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson qualified Wednesday to seek a fifth term as sheriff.
Sheriff Wilson is a 27-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office. He began his career in law enforcement in 1976 as a fingerprint examiner with the FBI in Washington, D.C.
In 1979, he was employed with the Georgia Department of Corrections and served as a police officer for the city of Lafayette from 1980–1986.
Sheriff Wilson began his duties with the Walker County Sheriff’s Office in April 1986 as a deputy. In August 1987, he was promoted to detective and assigned to drug investigations. In August 1990, he was promoted to assistant commander of the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force and became commander of the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force in October 1993, overseeing drug investigations in Dade, Catoosa, Chattooga and Walker counties.
He was elected as Walker County Sheriff in November 1996 and was re-elected in November 2000, receiving 73 percent of the vote in both elections. He ran unopposed in 2004, the first Walker County sheriff to run unopposed since 1972. Sheriff Wilson was re-elected in 2008, again with 73 percent of the vote.
Sheriff Wilson is a 1975 graduate of Lafayette High School and has extensive training in law enforcement. His professional education includes graduation from the FBI Fingerprint School in Washington, D.C.; the Georgia Department of Corrections Officer Mandate School at the University of Georgia; Floyd College’s Police Academy; Drug Enforcement Administration School in Chattanooga and the Sheriffs’ Elect Academy in Forsyth, Georgia. Additionally, he attended Northern Virginia Community College and has completed 1,739 hours of law enforcement in-service training.
Most recently, he graduated in 2008 from the Naval Post Graduate School of the Center for Homeland Defense and Security, where he was one of four sheriffs in the country selected to complete the course.
Sheriff Wilson says he is extremely proud of the many accomplishments his office has achieved during the past fifteen and a half years, which include the following:
· Implemented inmate chaplain program.
· Upgraded departmental vehicle fleet utilizing SPLOST funds.
· Converted departmental investigative filing system to electronic data.
· 1997 Implemented Walker County’s first School Resource Officer Program at Ridgeland High School.
· 1999 Implemented K-9 Drug Detection Unit.
· 2005 Implemented C.H.A.M.P.S. (Choosing Healthy Activities and Methods Promoting Safety) in each Walker County fifth grade classroom.
· 2008 Partnered with Catoosa County Sheriff Phil Summers to secure a 5.77 million dollar Department of Homeland Security Grant to create and enhance a four-county radio communication system.
· 2008 Introduced Offender Watch to Walker County as a way to track sex offenders in the area with the most up-to-date information.
· 2008-2009 Upgraded the Sheriff’s Office Computer infrastructure to better serve the public, to include bringing mobile units online for deputies to make reporting more efficient.
· 2009 Implemented the use of LEADSONLINE as a way to help track stolen property through pawn shop reporting.
· 2010 Introduced an updated www.walkerso.com, making it more interactive with the public.
· 2010-2011 Began using S.T.O.P. (Satellite Tracking of People). With this service, the Sheriff’s Office can track sexual predators on the sex offender registry living within the county. In 2011 expanded the program to be used on non-violent offenders to ease jail overcrowding.
· 2011 Partnered with Behavioral Analysis & Intelligence Resources (BAIR) to offer RAIDS Online (www.raidsonline.com). Walker County citizens can use RAIDS Online to find patterns and trends of crimes in their community
· 2011 Began using social media outlets such as Face Book to provide information to the citizens of Walker County.
· 2011-2012 Implemented automated inmate commissary accounting system to make it easier for money to be placed on inmates’ accounts via the web or the lobby kiosk that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
· 2012 Implementation of inmate kiosk in the cell blocks to allow for easier ordering with less errors and up- to-date information.
· 2011-2012 Updated the Records Management and Jail Management Systems to include mobile reporting and dispatch to allow quicker response to citizen’s calls for services and real time information to deputies.
· 2012 Developed the Sheriff Ralph Jones Law Enforcement Training Center.
· 2012 Began the first Sheriff’s Citizen’s Academy, an 11-week course that teaches the public the functions and job duties that take place in the Walker County Sheriff’s Office
· 2012 Updated the Walker County Sheriff’s Office Live Scan digital fingerprinting system, providing the quickest way to submit and process fingerprints required for employment purposes and gun permits.
Sheriff Wilson is the recipient of several awards, including:
· 2011 Appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal to the State Board of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities
· 2009 Ft. Oglethorpe Kiwanis Club Distinguished Service Award
· 2004 Walker County Citizen of the Year
· Recipient of the 2002 Governor’s Public Safety Award presented by Governor Roy E. Barnes on October 11, 2002, in Forsyth, Georgia.
· On March 19, 2002, The Georgia House of Representatives presented Sheriff Wilson with a Resolution recognizing him for the compassionate and caring manner in which he conducted the Tri-State Crematory investigation.
· Named Rossville Exchange Club’s Officer of the Year 1995.
Sheriff Wilson is a member and deacon of Oakwood Baptist Church in Chickamauga. He is a past president of the Northwest Georgia Law Enforcement Executives Association and is a member of the Walker County Chamber of Commerce. In 2006, Sheriff Wilson served as president of the 636 member Constitutional Officers’ Association of Georgia.
Sheriff Wilson serves as a board member of the Family Crisis Center and Cottage. Currently, Sheriff Wilson serves as vice-president of the Georgia Sheriffs’ Youth Homes and will assume the position of president in July 2012.
When re-elected, Sheriff Wilson will:
· Procure and implement state of the art records and jail management system with mobile application in partnership with Walker and Dade County 911, EMS and Dade County Public Safety.
· Work to obtain State Accreditation to improve the Sheriff’s Office ability to prevent and reduce crime through more efficient delivery of law enforcement services.
Sheriff Wilson lives in Lafayette with his wife, Sandy. They have three adult children: Adam (Lacey), Ryan (Fallon), and Katie.
“It has been an honor to serve the citizens of Walker County as Sheriff for the past 15 years. I have dedicated my life to public service in the law enforcement profession and have thoroughly enjoyed serving you for the past 31 years,” said Sheriff Wilson.
Sheriff Wilson intends to base his 2012 campaign on professionalism, fairness, honesty, openness and courtesy.