The race for sheriff in Dawson County has become a three-man contest.
Last week, lifelong resident Johnny Glass said he has been encouraged to run and, if elected, plans to focus on the community.
"I want to see this sheriff's office become more active with the citizens," he said. "The citizens are the focus and they are usually left out. I want the residents to know that they are being heard and that their opinions do matter.
"It's all about interaction with the community. It's about assuring them they're being both served and protected."
Four-term Sheriff Billy Carlisle and Kevin Ellison, a veteran DeKalb County law enforcement officer, announced their intentions to run earlier this year.
All three candidates are Republicans. Qualifying for the July 31 General Primary will run from 9 a.m. May 23 through noon May 25.
Glass, 43, said his success as a business owner and general contractor qualifies him to lead the sheriff's office in a fiscally responsible manner, despite having no background in law enforcement.
"The sheriff's job is managerial," he said. "You have your officers that are more than qualified to handle the enforcement aspect of the job. My job would be to manage the department, keep things running smoothly, and be a positive liaison between the department and the community."
If elected, Glass would pursue the required police office standard training certification.
"I've talked with the Georgia Sheriff's Association and I'd have six months to complete the training after the election," he said. "I could have taken it before, but I think my focus needs to be on the election right now."
Glass said officer morale, community policing endeavors and a return to the basics of law enforcement are areas he believes need attention.
"Improving morale isn't always about money," he said. "You can pay someone well, but when they're not getting the credit they are due, they're going to go elsewhere.
"This department has some great employees and great officers that taxpayers have spent money on training. Why would we let them go elsewhere when we already have a vested interest in them?"
Glass said he will work toward strengthening the department's relationships with the community, from officers at the school level to deputies on the streets and administrators.
"This is a small, rural community and the department should reflect that, not where equipment and technology is concerned, but in its interactions with the citizens," he said.
"We've lost that somewhere along the way. I'd like to bring courtesy and better attitudes back to this office."
Glass also wants to work with judicial officials to create more accountability programs for small-time offenders.
"My idea is to rehabilitate not incarcerate these offenders," he said.
A 1986 Dawson County High School graduate, Glass and wife Sandra Adams Glass have been married for 21 years. They have a daughter and a grandson.