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Race for Sheriff's seat begins
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Longtime Dawson County Sheriff Billy Carlisle will not retire until December 2016, but that hasnt stopped four candidates from declaring their bids to fill his seat.

In alphabetical order they are: Maj. Jeff Johnson, detention center commander, Dawson County jail; Jeff Perry, chief parole officer, Department of Community Supervision; Frank Sosebee, chief of security, Hall County Correctional Institute; and Capt. Tony Wooten, public information officer, Dawson County Sheriffs Office.

When Carlisle took office in 1997, his office had three employees and one car. Whomever wins next years election will take over a $6.2 million budget, be responsible for managing 106 employees, and be challenged with providing law enforcement services for more than $300 million in commercial and residential developments slated for Georgia State Route 400 in 2016-17.

Local residents are concerned.

In todays edition, The Dawson News & Advertiser begins a series of articles to introduce our readers to candidates in a fair and unbiased way. Each candidate is given a specific word count to respond to question from local residents who say they are concerned about an increase in crime, ongoing issues with funding for the sheriffs department, gang activity and crimes connected to prescription drugs, among others.

Carlisle announced in September 2014, he would not seek re-election after nearly 20 years in office.

See page 3A for candidate questions.