Five candidates run to replace ex-Clayton Sheriff Victor Hill in Tuesday vote

Credit: Jenni Girtman

Credit: Jenni Girtman

Five current and former Clayton County law enforcement officials are competing to fill the remainder of former Clayton Sheriff Victor Hill’s four-year term in office.

Levon Allen, Clarence Cox, Terry Evans, Dwayne Fabian and Chris Storey have been crisscrossing the south metro Atlanta community for the past several months hoping to persuade voters that they can lead the Clayton sheriff’s office and jail, which has been embroiled in controversy for more than a decade because of Hill.

Voters will go to the polls Tuesday to select a new sheriff, a state house District 75 representative and the issuance of $435 million in bonds for the construction of new schools, school buses and early learning centers for pre-K students.

Hill was convicted by a federal jury in October for violating the civil rights of detainees in the Clayton County jail by ordering staff to strap them in restraint chairs for hours, despite the detainees complying with all instructions. He was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in prison and six years probation.

Below are snippet profiles of the five candidates.

Levon Allen

Credit: Clayton County Sheriff's Office

Credit: Clayton County Sheriff's Office

Levon Allen, a former deputy with the sheriff’s office, is Clayton County’s interim sheriff after his mentor, Victor Hill, pushed for his promotion last year.

Allen, who came to the Clayton sheriff’s office in 2017 and who Hill calls his “godson,” quickly rose up the ranks in the department and eventually led the former lawman’s fugitive squad. Allen was sworn in as interim sheriff by Clayton Probate Court Judge Pam Ferguson on Dec. 22, two days after the Clayton County Commission pulled a proposal to change an ordinance to install him because of community uproar.

Allen, who like Hill does not talk to media, was born in Atlanta but moved to Clayton County when he was 9. He has leaned into tragedies in his life to explain his desire to be in law enforcement, including the murders of his aunt, brother and older sister, who was burned alive by a boyfriend who had threatened to kill her if she left him.


Clarence Cox

Credit: Jenni Girtman

Credit: Jenni Girtman

A native of Atlanta, Clarence Cox has lived in Clayton County since 1981 and was among the first Black deputies hired by south metro Atlanta community’s sheriff’s office in 1982. Cox went on to become chief of police for Clayton County Schools and currently is chief investigator for the Fulton County Solicitor General’s Office.

Cox has said his priorities will be to improve staffing at the sheriff’s office and the Clayton County jail. He said the sheriff’s office has been mismanaged for years because of out-of-whack priorities and long-ignored staffing issues.

“One of the problems we have right now is taking personnel out of the jail to put them out on the street to fight crime,” he said during a recent sheriff’s forum. “If we do our constitutional duties as a sheriff, we will have proper staffing the jail, we can have proper staffing on the streets.”


Terry Evans

Credit: Jenni Girtman

Credit: Jenni Girtman

A former Marine and state corrections officer, Terry Evans has held a variety of positions over a 20-year career at the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office — including field division major, special operations commander, fugitive investigator and commander of professional standards.

If elected, he said he wants to improve transparency between the community and the sheriff’s office and make the department more accountable for its actions.

He also would focus on improving training at the sheriff’s department, especially among jail staff after Terry Lee Thurmond III, 38, died in November after struggled with officers in the facility.

“People have got to get trained, people have got to have compassion and people have got to do things the right way,” he said. “As sheriff I will give staff what they need.”


Dwayne Fabian

Credit: Jenni Girtman

Credit: Jenni Girtman

A 31-year veteran of law enforcement — mostly with the Georgia State Patrol — Clayton County resident Dwayne Fabian will have a laser focus on spending at the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office.

Like many of his competitors for the sheriff’s position, he has called for an audit of the department and wants spending to be much more judicious.

He said he also wants to restore dignity and integrity to the sheriff’s office and help “alleviate the risk, abuse, and or neglect plaguing the citizens of Clayton County,” he said.

“Together we will put an end to wasteful spending of taxpayers’ dollars, safeguard and protect the residents of Clayton County, and rebuild the relationship between the Sheriff’s Office and the community,” he said. “It’s about working for the citizens, in conjunction with all law enforcement agencies and the community.”


Chris Storey

Credit: Jenni Girtman

Credit: Jenni Girtman

Chris Storey spent most of his 24-year law enforcement career at the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office, except for one year at the state prison in Lovejoy. He came to the sheriff’s office in 1999 as a correctional officer, was promoted to deputy sheriff in 2001 and held various jobs throughout the department, including serving as co-chairman of the Clayton County Domestic Violence Task Farce in 2012.

One of the most critical issues facing Clayton County, he said, is addressing a backlog of warrants that have not been served. That has impacted safety in Clayton because so many people who should be answering for their alleged crimes are walking the streets.

“We are going to get back to serving those warrants and getting those people before a judge and making sure those people are accountable for the crimes they’ve committed,” he said.

He also said Clayton needs to make the jail safer and tackle the sheriff’s office budget, which has been opaque for years and has impacted residents’ confidence in the integrity of the department.

“These things are going to happen simultaneously,” he said. “It’s not like I’m going to have to do one at a time.”

Special elections Tuesday March 21

Tuesday is a special election day for some metro Atlanta voters. Here are some links to learn more

- Mableton will hold its first elections for mayor and city council

- Clayton County will choose sheriff after conviction of Victor Hill

- Clayton County Schools hopes SPLOST will help bring respect

- Fayette County holds referendum on renewal of sales tax.

- House District 75 voters will choose a replacement for Rep. Mike Glanton

- City elections to be held in Jonesboro

- Are you eligible to vote on Tuesday? Check the Georgia My Voter page.

UPDATES on Election Day. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution will provide election results on all of our platforms, including, the AJC app and ePaper editions.