Special election called to fill unexpired term of ex-DeKalb sheriff

A March special election has been called to fill the unexpired term of ex-DeKalb County Sheriff Jeffrey Mann, who announced his retirement last month amid an unsuccessful battle to regain his law enforcement certification.

The winner of the March 24 election — which will coincide with the presidential primary — will only be guaranteed about eight months in office, as they complete the Mann term that expires at the end of 2020.

A separate general election will determine the next full-term sheriff.

Mann, who took office in 2014, was arrested in 2017 after allegedly exposing himself to an Atlanta police officer in Piedmont Park and then running away. He later pleaded guilty to charges of obstruction and prohibited conduct.

A state panel revoked Mann’s law enforcement certification but he appealed. That process allowed him to prolong his stay in office until his retirement — which came a few days before he was scheduled to appear before the Police Officer Standards and Training Council for a hearing on his certification status.

Melody Maddox — who Mann appointed to the department's chief deputy position this summer — took over as sheriff upon Mann's retirement. Maddox is believed to be DeKalb County's first full-time woman sheriff.

She has said she plans to run to serve a full term as sheriff, but her plans for March's special election were not immediately clear. The same goes for Harold Dennis, Adam GardnerTed GoldenAntonio Johnson and Carl Mobley, all former law enforcement officials who previously announced plans for 2020's general election.

Ruth Stringer, meanwhile, has announced plans to run in March's special election. Stringer served as interim sheriff during Mann's 40-day post-arrest suspension.

The qualifying period for the special election beings Jan. 6.