AJC file photo. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

GBI director: My sole focus isn’t locking people up

Vic Reynolds and former Gov. Roy Barnes shared remarks during Marietta church’s patriotic service

Georgia Bureau of Investigation director Vic Reynolds says his mission is justice, not adding to the prison population.

“My sole focus and purpose is not to lock people up,” he said. 

“The truth is, some people need to be there. Some people don’t need to exist in the society that you and I do every day, but not everyone. As I tell young agents when we hire them, your function is to seek justice. It’s not a belt-notching contest. It’s to seek justice and to protect the rights of every individual involved. Our victims, and yes, the defendants as well.”

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Reynolds and former Gov. Roy Barnes spoke from the pulpit of Marietta First United Methodist Church, where they are both members. Each year on the Sunday close to July 4, guest speakers give remarks on patriotism and faith.

Reynolds cited Scripture and the words of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John F. Kennedy. 

“It’s impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible,” the nation’s first president said. Reynolds said he has relied on his faith in his current role and his past one, as Cobb County’s district attorney.

“I discovered very quickly that I could not do the job that I was elected or appointed to do without a faith-based existence,” he said. “I’m not smart enough. I’m not strong enough. I’m certainly not wise enough to make the decisions I have to make without asking for help. Prayer is extremely important in this business.”

Barnes reviewed the histories of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and their fates afterward. 

“Five signers were captured by the British and tortured before they died, 12 had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the Revolutionary War. Another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 who signed fought and died from wounds that were suffered during the war.”

AJC file photo. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Photo: Hyosub Shin/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Others died impoverished, having been willing to sacrifice their fortunes for the cause of freedom.

“Would a current generation risk their lives, liberty and fortune to give us liberty again? I believe they would,” Barnes said. “The reason I do is I believe in the basic goodness of this people that we call Americans. I think they would rise to the occasion.”

You can watch both speakers’ remarks here. Reynolds starts at about 36:18, with Barnes following:

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