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Jail chief named tops in the state
Johnson credits staff for award
4 Jail Commander pic
Dawson County Sheriff's Maj. Jeff Johnson, who was named Georgia Jail Commander of the Year earlier this month, answers a call in booking. Sgt. Jonathon Henderson is also pictured. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

A year after taking over as detention center administrator, Dawson County Sheriff’s Maj. Jeff Johnson was named the state’s top jail commander.

  

“To be here just a year, that’s pretty impressive,” said Sheriff Billy Carlisle. “It goes to show the effort he’s putting into his job and the different changes he’s putting into place.”

  

Johnson received the award July 1 during the Georgia Jail Association’s annual conference in Columbus.

  

“It was really a surprise, a humbling experience,” said Johnson, who began his career in Hall County and worked for the city of Gainesville before accepting an investigations position in Dawson in 2004.

  

He left the department for about a year in 2008 and served as Dawson County Marshal until June 2009, when the jail administrator post opened.

  

“I’m glad to be back here and proud of the success we have had the last year,” Johnson said.

  

Johnson credits his staff, which makes up the largest percentage of employees in the sheriff’s office, with receiving the award.

  

“I can set ideas and I can set goals, but if I didn’t have the great command staff here and the line level officers to administer the goals and put them into effect, we couldn’t do anything,” he said.

  

Johnson oversees operations in the detention center, records management, inmate work release and work detail, among other duties.

  

Carlisle said Johnson is a credit to the department and to the county.

  

“It’s our biggest department, but it’s also the biggest liability for the whole county, because you are looking at 165 inmates in jail where you have taken their freedom away from them,” Carlisle said.

  

Lt. Frank Sosebee, who serves as the association’s second vice president, nominated Johnson for the award.

  

He said it is unprecedented how much the detention center has evolved since Johnson came onboard.

  

“There have been so many changes put in place,” Sosebee said. “He’s focused on not only developing the detention center but also the development of each individual officer.”