UPDATE: DeKalb County sheriff retiring amid appeal over certification

The sheriff of DeKalb County, in the midst of an appeal over his law enforcement certification, plans to retire 13 months before his term is slated to end.

Jeffrey Mann, who has been sheriff since 2014, has been fighting to keep his certification after a state panel voted to revoke it in 2017. Mann pleaded guilty to charges after he allegedly exposed himself to an Atlanta officer in Piedmont Park.

Mann broke the news to his command staff on Wednesday, and announced his decision publicly in a statement to residents Thursday morning.

“I am grateful and truly humbled that you placed your trust in me. I trust that I have served you well in my duties as Sheriff,” Mann wrote. “I am extremely proud of the accomplishments of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office. I thank them for allowing me to serve and for their phenomenal dedication, hard work and professionalism.”

Mann did not provide a specific reason for his retirement.

With his retirement planned for Nov. 30, the current chief deputy sheriff, Melody Maddox, is set to take over as sheriff. It is believed that she will be the first female sheriff in DeKalb history.

Credit: Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com

Credit: Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com

“He just made the decision (that) he wanted to go ahead and retire. I respect his decision to retire,” Maddox told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an interview Wednesday. “We appreciate the work that he has done here and the foundation that he has built upon ... I’m super excited about the journey.”

Mann was first elected sheriff in a special election in 2014, and then re-elected to a full term in 2016.

In 2017, he was arrested after an Atlanta police officer accused the sheriff of exposing himself at Piedmont Park and running away to avoid arrest. Mann pleaded guilty to charges of obstruction and prohibited conduct, paying a fine and completing community service. Gov. Nathan Deal suspended him for 40 days, and he was temporarily barred from visiting Atlanta parks.

The Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council also voted to revoke his license. Mann asked POST to reconsider its decision, but it was unsuccessful. He appealed to an administrative law judge at Georgia's Office of State Administrative Hearings, and was scheduled for a Dec. 12 court appearance.

Mann’s retirement could effectively end the appeals process over his POST certification; Mann’s attorney Noah Pines declined to comment on the case Thursday. It may also set up a special election for sheriff ahead of the 2020 general election.

Announcing his retirement, Mann heralded the sheriff’s office’s community engagement and criminal justice reform efforts. Under his tenure, Mann said, the sheriff’s office expanded inmate services to provide GED, rehabilitation and vocational training programs.

“As this election season approaches, I’d like to leave elected office hopeful that all appropriate and due focus will not be on me but on the phenomenal work our team has accomplished and the substantive challenges that shall continue to shape the best possible future of the entire DeKalb community,” he wrote.

Credit: Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com

Credit: Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com

Maddox, 53, ran for sheriff against Mann in 2014 and came in fourth place in a field of seven. Mann ended up appointing her as his chief deputy earlier this year. She will be responsible for overseeing the sheriff's office's duties, which include operating the county jail and security at county courts. Maddox, also the former chief of police at Georgia Piedmont Technical College, said she plans to run for a full term as sheriff next year.

Sheriff Mann retirement announcement

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