DeKalb sheriff finding little support from law enforcement colleagues

As he tries to save his job following an embarrassing weekend arrest, DeKalb County Sheriff Jeffrey Mann is finding little support from his fellow law enforcement officers.

ExploreIN-DEPTH: DeKalb sheriff says he’s here to stay despite calls to resign

Pursuant to Georgia code, that committee would be composed of two sheriffs and the attorney general.

Mann is already under investigation by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council, which could result in his license being revoked or suspended. Certification from the council is required for all law enforcement officers.

But that probe can’t be completed until Mann’s legal case is resolved. And that could take awhile.

“This is a damaging, demoralizing event for the people of DeKalb County, the sheriff’s deputies and for sheriffs throughout the state,” said Terry Norris, executive director of the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association. “This needs to be resolved sooner rather than later.”

Depending on its findings, the governor’s committee could suspend Mann for a period of up to 90 days, at which point DeKalb’s chief superior court judge would appoint an interim sheriff, Norris said.

Mann allegedly exposed himself to an Atlanta police officer late Saturday night in an area of Piedmont Park popular with men cruising for sex. After the officer identified himself, the sheriff turned and ran, according to the incident report, leading the officer on a chase through a nearby Midtown neighborhood where he was eventually apprehended.

Mann has vowed to clear his name, and in a statement from his attorney he said he had no plans to step down, calling his arrest a “personal matter which should have no bearing on the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office and its staff.”

“This is not a personal matter,” Norris said. “This is a public matter.”

Gov. Deal on Wednesday said his office has received the sheriff’s association letter and was considering the request.

“As you know, there is a procedure that can be followed in the event that it becomes necessary to appoint a panel to review and make recommendations,” he said. “But we have not gotten to that stage of it yet.”

Norris said he is confident the governor will convene the panel. In the meantime, he called on Mann to either resign or elaborate on his claim that the incident was a “misunderstanding.”

“Sheriffs don’t run from police,” Norris said.

— Staff writer Greg Bluestein contributed to this report.