DeKalb Sheriff Mann appoints former rival as his new chief deputy

DeKalb Sheriff Jeffrey Mann (left) swears in new Chief Deputy Melody Maddox on July 11. (Photo courtesy of DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office)

DeKalb Sheriff Jeffrey Mann (left) swears in new Chief Deputy Melody Maddox on July 11. (Photo courtesy of DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office)

DeKalb Sheriff Jeffrey Mann has turned to a former political rival to serve as his new second-in-command.

This decision also sets up an heir-apparent if Mann is unsuccessful in keeping his law enforcement certification because of a 2017 arrest and is unable to run for re-election next year as a result.

Mann swore in Melody Maddox as his new chief deputy earlier this month. She spent the last three years serving as chief of police at Georgia Piedmont Technical College. Maddox started her career as a detention technician at the DeKalb County jail, and she has experience with the DeKalb County Police Department.

As chief deputy sheriff, she will oversee the department’s law enforcement operations at the courts, the jail and in the field. Maddox succeeds former Chief Deputy Reginald Scandrett, who retired in June.

“I chose Melody because I believe she was the best person for the job,” Mann said. “She has extensive law enforcement experience including executive management experience, and we have a complementary management style.”

Read more | As exposure case appeal lingers, DeKalb Sheriff Mann continues on job

In 2014, Maddox was among seven people who ran against Mann for sheriff. Three months before the election, Mann had been appointed interim sheriff after Thomas Brown retired to run for Congress. Mann was Brown's chief deputy and a former county attorney.

Mann won the 2014 election and was re-elected to a full term in 2016. Mann said Friday that he plans to run again in 2020, but that won't be possible if he loses his certification.

Mann is scheduled to go in front of an administrative judge next month in hopes of overturning the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council’s September 2017 decision to revoke his license.

An Atlanta police officer accused the sheriff of exposing himself at Piedmont Park then 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.

Mann asked POST to reconsider its decision, and when that wasn’t successful he appealed to an administrative law judge at Georgia’s Office of State Administrative Hearings. For months, the case remained in limbo while the administrative court waited on Attorney General Christopher Carr’s office to file the appeal.

Mann can transfer his case to a higher court if he disagree with the administrative judge’s ruling.

If he steps down or is forced out before his term ends, chief deputy Maddox would replace him as long as she is a resident of DeKalb County. If not, the chief Superior Court judge would appoint an interim sheriff.