Forty plus year veteran Floyd M. Scott shares with host Rico Figliolini why he is running for Gwinnett County Sheriff. Recorded at Atlanta Tech Park, in the City of Peachtree Corners GA
[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:03:21] – About Floyd
[00:06:02] – 287g Program
[00:11:34] – Police Morale
[00:19:29] – Recruiting
[00:20:38] – Changing the System
[00:27:38] – Seeing the County change
[00:30:50] – Gwinnett County Sheriff Responsibilities
[00:33:43] – Mental Health Departments and Jail numbers
[00:35:41] – Budgets and more changes
[00:38:15] – Officer Integrity
[00:41:54] – Closing
“…My profession is a passion that I love and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. You know, it’s just something that once you get it in your system, it’s something that you just want to, it’s all about servitude. You know, I’m a servant. I’ve been a servant all my life. You know, I went into the military as a servant and now retired as a servant.”Floyd Scott
Rico: [00:00:30] Hi everyone. This is Rico Figliolini, host of Peachtree Corners Life. I want to welcome you here tonight. We’re at Atlanta Tech Park where we do all our podcasts from. Atlanta Tech Park is an innovation hub with over 70 companies here. A place that can fit over a hundred companies here. These are startups that are in the city of Peachtree Corners here. Atlanta Tech Park, growing, doing high tech stuff. And this place has event space, has Financial Fridays, Wine Wednesdays, they have a whole bunch of things going on here and seminars. The big April, the event in FinTech that’s going on as well. So check out their website: AtlantaTechPark.com, and you’ll find that more events that are going on here. This place is actually on a road that’s becoming more famous as we go. And it’s Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners. It’s a one and a half mile, 1.7 mile track. That allows a 5G, Sprint 5G enabled and allows autonomous vehicles to be able to run on it in a live laboratory environment, in a place that people are walking, driving. I mean, you, if you’re a company looking to do work in the autonomous vehicle area or on the internet of everything where technology speaks to everything that can be on a street, just think about it. You know, it could be apps, could be cars to talk to other cars, of course, talking to apps, like poles, crossing areas, maybe solar powered roads that can energize an electric car. This is what can be done here. It’s a very unique place, and even though it’s 5G enabled, that means wireless, right? Broadband. The main hub, if you will. The backbone of what brings the internet here is really still fiber and our lead sponsor is Hargray Fiber. They are essentially the backbone of Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners, and they are a company known in Southeast and expanding in Southeast, bringing in solutions both to small businesses and enterprise solutions where they can bring fiber cable to your business and be your IT company in that business situation and bring voice, internet and everything you need in, in a better way than I believe Comcast and some other companies can do. So check them out at HargrayFiber.com and Atlanta Tech Park. Now to introduce my host, my host, my guest today. We’re talking to, let me introduce him here. There you go Floyd Scott. He’s running for Gwinnett County sheriff, and we’re going to have the chance to be able to talk to you. Floyd, thank you for coming.
Floyd: [00:03:10] Thank you for having me here.
Rico: [00:03:11] I appreciate you coming on the show. I want to be able to you know, find out a little bit about you, you know, so tell our audience a little bit about Floyd Scott.
Floyd: [00:03:21] Well, I’ve been in public service for over 40 years. I was, I’m retired military actually. I was military police, and so it was an easy transition for me to actually go into law enforcement here in Gwinnett. I’ve been in Georgia since 1993. I’ve been policing in Gwinnett County for close to 24 years. I was with the Gwinnett County police department. And I just retired from the Munich County Sheriff’s office after 17 years. And the only reason why I retired was so that I could run for the sheriff cause it needs to be changed. Gwinnett County is a very diverse County, we speak over a hundred different languages and some say that we are the most diverse County in the nation. I believe that.
Rico: [00:04:05] Certainly the most diverse County in the state of Georgia. For sure. So, you know, that’s a long 40 year, 40 plus years of service. Didn’t you ever get, didn’t you ever get tired of it?
Floyd: [00:04:16] Well, as my profession is a passion that I love and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. You know, it’s just something that once you get it in your system, it’s something that you just want to, it’s all about servitude. You know, I’m a servant. I’ve been a servant all my life. You know, I went into the military as a servant and now retired as a servant.
Rico: [00:04:36] Do, so do, I guess, you know. So tell us a little bit, since we’re going there, tell us a little bit about your belief system, about you know, your values and how you base your decisions when you work.
Floyd: [00:04:50] Well, I’m a man of faith. I’m a family man. First I have, I’m actually well vested in here in Gwinnett County because I have seven children. And they live here, and I have eight, seven of them live in Gwinnett County. One decided to go to Alpharetta, but I actually have five that are in the household. And I have two that are adults. They live in Gwinnett County. So I’m well vested. And I believe that the people that I love near and dear, I want them to feel safe. So, I also want citizens in Gwinnett County to feel safe as well, you know?
Rico: [00:05:26] So, okay. Do, are any of your kids? Do they say, dad, I want to be, I want to get into law enforcement? Do any of them say that?
Floyd: [00:05:36] Well, I have four beautiful daughters that they look up to me. I think what they do right now is they go to school and they talk to the teachers and they talk to their classmates and they say, my dad is going to be the next sheriff of Gwinnett County and they’d be running around talking, talking to the teachers. It’s funny. I love it, you know.
Rico: [00:05:56] So, why, why are you seeking office? Why do you want to be the Gwinnett County sheriff?
Floyd: [00:06:02] Well, I believe in rebuilding relationships within the community. I believe in rebuilding the trust between the citizens of Gwinnett County and law enforcement, you know, as I’m in that there’s been some injustices that have appeared that are occurring in Gwinnett, and there’s some injustice that are occurring in the County Sheriff’s office. For instance, the 287g program, for instance.
Rico: [00:06:29] So explain that to people that don’t know.
Floyd: [00:06:32] Well, what it is, is a contracted agreement between the sheriff of Gwinnett County and immigration. What it does is anybody that’s an undocumented immigrant that comes here in Gwinnett County and is arrested by any of the local police that are here, including the Sheriff’s office, and they are undocumented and they get arrested, whatever the incident may
be, if it’s just a traffic citation of traffic, driving without a license or no insurance, and they get arrested and they went to Gwinnett County jail, they have a team of workers that are there, that are dedicated to immigration and that they find that they are undocumented. Then they will be handed over to immigration for deportation.
Rico: [00:07:24] Ice, essentially, right?
Floyd: [00:07:25] Ice.
Rico: [00:07:25] Ice, which is what I think many people might know it as.
Floyd: [00:07:29] And the thing of it is, some of these people that are undocumented, they left that country for a better life. Some of them even escaped that country for a better life, and a lot of crimes are going unreported because the undocumented immigrants feel that is, they would rather endure the crime that’s being committed against them instead of reporting it to the police and have the police, I guess, check them out and find out that they are undocumented and then deport them.
Rico: [00:08:11] Have you come across stories like that where people have been deported for really minor offenses and torn away from their families?
Floyd: [00:08:18] Oh yeah. You got some people that I’ll actually leave them at home in the morning, going to work like normal. And they get pulled over by the police for whatever the reason may be and it, and they could be making a wrong turn or making a turn without putting the signal on, or is, it could be a very or varying, different things that could happen. And they pull them over and they don’t have a driver’s license, so.
Rico: [00:08:45] Now 287g is enforced, it’s voluntarily enforced by the County.
Floyd: [00:08:52] Yes, it’s an, like I said, it’s an agreement between the Gwinnett County sheriff and immigration. So if the sheriff decided that he didn’t want it anymore, then it would be gone.
Rico: [00:09:05] And there’s no repercussions?
Floyd: [00:09:07] There’s no, there’s no repercussions whatsoever. So that’s why when I do become the next sheriff of Gwinnett County, that’s one of the first things that I’m going to be doing away with.
Rico: [00:09:16] Do you find that the police officers that are tasked to this? I mean, most people, I guess that they used to seeing police shows and stuff and or reality shows even, and they may be aware that, you know, you get a collar, you have to spend time at the jail processing that collar. For example, the person that you brought in arrested, do you find that a big waste of time for the Sheriff’s department to be doing that?
Floyd: [00:09:43] In most cases I find it to be a waste of time because I don’t think that the 27 week program should even be there because like I was there before, the 287g program was even there. And we had a system in place that we would contact a consulate of whatever nationality that we had put in the jail. And then we notify that consulate. If the consulate wanted them, they would come and get him. And if they didn’t want him, then we would do a background check on him to make sure that they didn’t have any violent crimes or anything like that. If they had a violent history, then yes, we would notify. But if it was a minor crime, like, like for instance, no driver’s license or no insurance, and we wouldn’t still notify that consulate, but if the consulate said, nah, we’re not going to come get him, then we would just release them back into the public cause they were no threat to the public.
Rico: [00:10:35] Right. But they still come to court, I guess later.
Floyd: [00:10:38] They would if they didn’t pay that fine. Usually when they, when they were born to the, to the jail for no driver’s license, they were bought because they couldn’t sign the ticket because they didn’t have, they couldn’t verify the address from where they were. So they would bring them in. So they would pay that fine. If they paid that fine and got released for, you know, for instance, it was no driver’s license and they paid a fine, right. Or no insurance. They paid that fine and they would be released. They didn’t have to have a court date because they already paid the fine. The court date was set up so that they could go before the judge and, right. Hey, what? I was fine. I needed the payment if they paid it.
Rico: [00:11:17] So Floyd M Scott becoming sheriff first day, 287g would be out the door.
Floyd: [00:11:22] 287g would be gone.
Rico: [00:11:24] Gone. Okay. All right. So, yeah. Obviously that’s the single most important issue at this point, it sounds like.
Floyd: [00:11:34] Well, that’s one of the, that’s one of the things that, I’m emphasizing strongly. But I also, the morale within the jail itself, you know, like I said, I was here for 17 years. I left on August 19th, 2019. Six months prior to that, I knew I was going to be running for sheriff, but nobody knew in the Sheriff’s office, so I was going around to all the deputies that worked in the housing units, and I was talking to the deputies that were working the streets and I was asking them if they had a way of changing something to make their jobs easier. What would they do? And they would give me ideas. So I was already, I guess you could say interviewing them to find out what is going to make that the new system around. And that’s what I carried, that’s what I’m carrying with me now.
Rico: [00:12:31] Okay. So what would be the first thing that Floyd M. Scott sheriff would do? The first 90 days? I mean, what would you start with? Give me the top three or four things that you’d want to start accomplishing.
Floyd: [00:12:43] One of the things that I would do immediately in addition to the 27g is I would allow the deputies to wear beards.
Rico: [00:12:52] They can’t wear beards?
Floyd: [00:12:53] They can’t wear beards at this time unless they’re in a specialized unit. Then a specialized unit, but I would allow them to wear beards. I wouldn’t get it. They’d have, I’d have regulations on it. They couldn’t grow it beyond probably an inch or so, but of course that would let them grow up because we have a lot of deputies that have, I guess, trouble shaving. They have razor bumps and it is painful. It’s my whole military career. I had to have a shaved profile.
Rico: [00:13:24] Some people just don’t want to shave. I mean, I just cut this down a little bit, but it’s been like…
Floyd: [00:13:29] As long as it’s neat. As long as it’s neat and it’s trimmed nicely, I don’t have a problem with it.
Rico: [00:13:36] All right, so dress code that, that being part of dress code though, you would address that. What other things would you address?
Floyd: [00:13:43] I know that there is a, you got, deputy ones, the ones that I’m not, that have no desire to be certified deputies to walk around and carry guns or work at the courthouse or anything like that. They love working in the jail. They call it deputy ones, three months. Then you’ve got deputy twos and then you’ve got deputy, master deputies.
Rico: [00:14:06] So deputy ones work in the jail system and don’t carry weapons.
Floyd: [00:14:10] They don’t carry weapons. The only thing would they, the thing of it is you got some of them that’s been there for like 10, 11, 12, 15 years. And then you have a young officer that comes in and they, I guess they’re at that point, other than the pay for performance, that’s the only raise they get is each year where a deputy that goes through the mandate Academy and gets certified. It’s a pay grade increase and also have the opportunity to go and get tests for corporal, test for master deputy, test for sergeant and go up the ranks. Well, the ones that don’t have a desire to go to mandate, they don’t have that option. So I’ve, that’s one of the things that I want to bring. I want to have a rank structure for the DSO that there would be pay parity for, because you got some of these DS ones that have one set of training, right? The deputies that are going to mandate. And they have more knowledge in how to work in the jail then, then, then the young guys that are coming through.
Rico: [00:15:20] Sure. Experience counts for something, right?
Floyd: [00:15:21] Yes.
Rico: [00:15:22] But the DS2s are carrying weapons.
Floyd: [00:15:25] And they carry, they carry weapons once they leave the jail.
Rico: [00:15:28] Right. And are they, I mean, they are, obviously the pay grade is different also because they’re more likely, something will, likely would happen. I mean, the more hazardous duty, if you will.
Floyd: [00:15:39] You got some that any jail that has the capabilities of carrying weapons, but yet they’ll go into the locker room and they’ll change into civilian clothes and you’ll never know that they were deputy two. But all the DS ones they have to dress down where you don’t recognize them because they don’t carry guns and we, they’re forbidden to walk around in their uniforms outside of the jail.
Rico: [00:16:08] Because they don’t carry guns.
Floyd: [00:16:11] They don’t carry guns in. That’s one of the first things that a person would, there’s wanting to do harm. He’s going to seek the person that looks like my law enforcement.
Rico: [00:16:19] Right. So that makes sense to me. All right, so, and what would, is there, what else would you do? That’s the, the next?
Floyd: [00:16:25] Well, I know that, we don’t have our own training facility. We pretty much share a train facility within Gwinnett County police. I would like to. I’d have to talk to the board of commissioners about it. It wouldn’t be something that I could make happen but something that I can bring to their attention. You know, we don’t have our own shooting range. We gotta we have to, rely and share the shooting range of the Gwinnett County police. Where we could, develop our own shooting range. That way we can train our deputies to shoot because they, some of them have problems with shooting and yeah, we’ll tell them to go to these shooting ranges that are, that you have to pay, but we don’t give them the fundamental training that they need sort of before they go to the Academy.
Rico: [00:17:13] Is there a formal training with the Cornell Police Academy?
Floyd: [00:17:17] There is a formal training with the police Academy and then they go through like training scenarios, and they go and shoot, we prove the 40 hour actually scheduled to go to the range or go to the Academy. But then you got some of the ones that have been certified that still have trouble shooting. Yeah, so and the only time that they even go and shoot that weapons
is if they’re slated to go to the range and then that’s got to be whenever they can get it going during the day. It’s usually Monday through Friday doing certain set hours that the police department is open. Well, if we had our own range. You got people that work at night, they got certified instructors that can take them into a range in the jail or in a facility that is right outside the jail and teach them how to shoot when they have that downtime.
Rico: [00:18:12] Let me ask you something. I know the Cornell police sometimes there’s, there’s always problems with hiring. There’s, they’re always short. They’re, they train police. Within two or three years. Those police officers may leave to go to another County. It’s good to know the police department because better pay, maybe better benefits. Maybe better, more out. Let me, I’ll be finding that to be the case also in the Sheriff’s department right now.
Floyd: [00:18:38] Yes. The morale is not as at the level that it should be at the level that I would like for it to be. I know from all the training and leadership classes that I’ve gone through, if you show your people that you care for them and that you care about their wellbeing, they don’t care about the pay. You can give them as much as much money as you want to, and they are still unhappy. If they feel that you don’t care about that, right, then they’re going to leave regardless. They’re going to go somewhere with somebody cares about them.
Rico: [00:19:10] Yeah. So you’re finding that level of morale is really like that.
Floyd: [00:19:15] Yes, I’ve experienced it.
Rico: [00:19:17] Okay. So if, so, your vision and goal for the, for the office and what you want to accomplish is really sounds like, to me it’s really morale based.
Floyd: [00:19:28] Yes.
Rico: [00:19:29] It’s changing the system. So then, so would this also, would you, how would you improve? Do you think we have enough Sheriff’s deputies? Do we, should we improve the recruiting as well?
Floyd: [00:19:40] The recruiting system is good. The repeating, the recruiters that we have in place right now, they’re very, they’re very good at what they do. And, they will continue to, to excel and bring people in. It’s just the retention part of that. And I feel that a majority of that retention has to do with us actually caring for them. The people that don’t, we bring in. Also the leadership. A lot of people forget where they come from. You know, I worked my way through the ranks. I’ve never forgotten where I came from. And I can go and, if I have any problems, I’ll go and ask a deputy one who works in our housing unit or out on the street constantly and knows it inside and out and say, Hey, well how do you do this? How do you do that? I don’t get this big head to the point where I’m the big man, so I don’t need to ask you what, you know how to do this, but that person knows how to do that.
Rico: [00:20:38] Sure. So what did you, have you found anything surprising when you’ve been out in the field like that? Asking deputies those questions, anything surprising that you found? Floyd: [00:20:48] What I’ve found is, first of all, they’re shocked that they mean, you are asking me? Oh wow. I feel they feel, they feel part of the system. You know, they feel, they feel valued. And that’s all I’m trying to do is I’m just trying to bring value. I want you to feel that you are included in the process, you know? And not the, we are up here at the top and we are just gonna rain down. I want to know what you would have to say. So, and that’s what, that’s where a lot of things have been lost in this place, is that once you get into these high ranking positions, you feel that you got to make all the decisions and you don’t want anybody else to make them. And then if the decisions are made from below you, then you might feel that you’re inadequate, but I don’t feel that way.
Rico: [00:21:46] Do you feel some people do feel, some people have been in the system way too long?
Floyd: [00:21:51] Yeah.
Rico: [00:21:51] That sort of sounds like, yeah. Do, do you think the Sheriff’s department or the sheriff, the County sheriff should have either a term limit also?
Floyd: [00:22:01] I think, I think it should be three terms. Three, three elections, and that’s it. I don’t think they should be in there until either they die in office or they are there until they’ve been there 30, 40 years or whatever. I think it should be a three term limit.
Rico: [00:22:21] It’s funny, I was doing some research before this interview of impact county sheriffs across the country and you either die in your, your office essentially, or you hand it down to your son or family member in some counties. It’s, I was reading that and I was like, man, that’s unbelievable. It’s so, junior can take the job of… I can see that in certain counties, you know, maybe not in the cities areas, but where they literally handed that to family members or they die in office because they’ve been there so long. What, what, what’s the vision and goal that you, or i’m sorry, not the vision and goal. What’s the quality and experiences that you feel is the best core candidate for this office?
Floyd: [00:23:05] Well, first of all, it has to be somebody that’s actually worked at the Sheriff’s office that knows the constitutional responsibilities of the sheriff. And have a love and care for the employees that work for the sheriff. You got civilians. We’ve got over, I think it’s the last eight, 800 plus officer’s deputies as well as civilians. You want them to come to, to work and not dread coming to work, but coming to work to be productive because they enjoy being in the environment. What I’ve experienced, and just from being a supervisor and being a manager at the Sheriff’s office, where you got some people that drive up in the parking lot and they’ll sit there and they’ll contemplate. Wow, I’ve got to go in and should I call in sick because the morale
is that bad? Well, I, I want them to feel wanted. I want them to feel welcome and I want them to feel that the production, the work that they do is valued. I want them to feel valued.
Rico: [00:24:17] I can see how if someone is, is angry or is now feeling valued. How’d that would really, be a detriment to the way they work their job as well. If they have anger.
Floyd: [00:24:32] Well, you’re going to have, you’re going to have people that will have, you’re going to have a bad day. They’re going to come in and they want everybody to feel the way they feel. So they’re going to come in with a certain attitude. And they’re going to try to, and the thing of it is you’ve got to have those strong leaders, be it ranked leaders or chosen leaders amongst the peers, because you’ve got peer leaders too, as well as rank leaders that can go going and talk to a person in and say, Hey, what’s going on?
Rico: [00:25:06] Does the county sheriff do like other corporations, do they do, I imagine they do reviews on a regular basis, right?
Floyd: [00:25:13] What they have the annual, they have, if there’s a, a deputy that is in trouble. They got programs that set up that they can seek counseling without anybody knowing. You know, and the responsibility of the supervisors is to see that. And it also is each one of the deputy’s responsibility to see if one of their peers or somebody that they feel is going through something that somebody is made aware of it.
Rico: [00:25:47] You see where I’m going with that question, right? Because I mean, in a normal corporate environment, all right, someone doesn’t do the job, right? Paper falls off. File gets lost, things happen. It’s different in a law enforcement where lives are at stake and some cases even if it’s a little different, right?
Floyd: [00:26:04] Absolutely.
Rico: [00:26:05] You want to weed out some people that you know shouldn’t be maybe that particular job, but you know, they could do that job better. Sounded like saying we’re going to weed out everyone that’s bad, but I’d say let’s put them into the right place, but they might work better.
Floyd: [00:26:18] Yeah. We, we have a system. Well, I believe in the system that if you’re not used to being around people that cause this, law enforcement is a people oriented business for me. You gotta care about the people that you, that you are talking to. Otherwise you, you know. We can put you in a place where you don’t really have to talk to people. You don’t have to have any encounters with people at all. But, that’s one of the things that the supervisors would have to find in, in, and weed them out, and to sit back and sit down and have a conversation with them. I mean, as this a profession that you really want to be in, I mean, considering this is a public service, right?
Rico: [00:27:03] And some of them may be carrying weapons, right? You have to have the right, well, emotional stability and sleep.
Floyd: [00:27:10] You’re absolutely right, because one thing about being in the law enforcement arena, one minute, I tell him all the time, I would tell him all the time, one minute you could be helping an old lady across the street, and the next moment you can be in a fight for your life. So you gotta be really prepared mentally for that.
Rico: [00:27:38] Then you’ve been, you’ve been in this county a long time, 23 or 24 to 24 years. That’s almost as though they’ve been here since 95, so 23 years. The county’s changed a lot. I mean, I mean, you’ve seen it firsthand, obviously even better because you’ve worked in, in the system. What, what, what do you think are the pressing things? What areas of the County and what, what, what do you think needs more attention? They may not be getting that now. I mean, there’s more gang activity. Maybe there’s more crime, I don’t know. And depending on who you talk to, what part of the county you’re, you’re talking about things change.
Floyd: [00:28:19] Well, I know when I was honestly out there on the streets policing Gwinnett County, the areas that were bad, but the demographics have changed. And people have transitioned from those locations. When I first started back in 2001 in with the police department, Norcross was a very, very heavy gang drive by shootings constantly. Cause my first week there I had to deal with three drive by shootings, you know, and people getting killed from gang disjoint, gang size. Well the crime is slowly moving. Well, the 85 corridor. And what we got to do is we just got to, yeah. You just got to focus. You know, when they got the, the crime stats, they got to do the crime stats, the comp stats that they do to, do to an area. And I even have an app on my phone that any crime that committed that I’ll get briefed. Brilliant. So you can know what areas though most crimes are ridden.
Rico: [00:29:30] Not just college, you’re talking about incident reports.
Floyd: [00:29:35] Actual incident reports where we got, okay, well, larceny was committed here, you got the aggravated assault or domestic violence, or you know, even a heavier crime then that and now they actually have apps that you can actually wherever your address is, we can have it within however many mile, 10 mile radius of your home.
Rico: [00:29:59] I have one now. It’s, I forgot what it’s called, this crime mapping. It’ll, every morning I would get something and I’ll say, one crime, one incident or five. It’s just about four. The interesting part is, at least in this area, I don’t, I see less break-ins percent, unless you’re on a main road. Which always tells me that it’s just an easy in and out, but I don’t see a deeper into a community. And I see a lot of just stuff happening in like, parking lots and office, spray cans and stuff like that.
Floyd: [00:30:31] One of the other amazing things that are happening, is they have these tag reader cameras put in neighborhoods that, that can afford to have them in their neighborhoods. And then I guess in some of the, the industrial locations that they have as well.
Rico: [00:30:50] You know, the city of Peachtree Corners is actually putting the license plate identification cameras throughout, at least the main roads that are city owned, if you will. And then anyone that wants it and their homeowner association that can go at it and the city will put it there, as long as they pay for it in their property taxes prorated on all that. You were talking before about constitutional mandate, so just for those that don’t understand, because. County sheriffs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction take care of a variety of things. It’s not always the same in every County. Some of them manage jails as their main priority, some of them, because they do that, then they may be the largest provider of mental health services in the County just because of the nature of the beast. They perform evictions, sometimes running car office, variety of things in different counties. What is the constitutional mandate for the Gwinnett County sheriff? What would, what are you tasked to do? What’s your responsibilities?
Floyd: [00:31:47] Our responsibility is the jail. Maintain security of the jail. The courthouse. Make sure that we have an adequate amount of deputies that command that courtrooms, so that the judges will have security in the courtrooms. We, service the warrants, the civil papers. We are actually in charge of the family violence, the temporary protective orders that are put in place. Whenever it is a family violence order for a temporary protective order, it comes to the Sheriff’s office. We control the family violence orders that come down. And we also, maintain the sex offenders. And there’s, there’s an app out there too. You go to the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s website, you can actually tap into the sex offenders. So you will know who, if there’s a sex offender in your neighborhood or anywhere close proximity to you.
Rico: [00:32:50] Because they have to be registered for a period of time. Floyd: [00:32:51] They have to be registered and monitored. They actually go on. I’ve done it. I’ve actually went out to these, registered sex offenders homes to make sure that they were home. If they’re not home, then we go into front of the judge and we’d say, Hey, this is, this person wasn’t here at the time he was supposed to be here, and then the order, the judge issues an order, we’ll go get them and bring them back in before the judge. The judge is going to say, if you can maintain, you know your probation in your home that you registered for, then you can stay here, not jail.
Rico: [00:33:24] Well thing is there, does that expire at some point? I guess they have to probation or did they say . Floyd: [00:33:30] It all depends on the seriousness of the crime and I’m sure there’s times they can go and get their charges expunged. But it all depends on the severity of the crime.
Rico: [00:33:43] What, with going back to a little bit about what I said about some maturity sections in health, mental health services, I would imagine in the jail system. Have you seen the
growth of that, of people that you know how, or have some mental issues and you have to provide services? Does, the County does do that?
Floyd: [00:34:06] We have a 24 hour mental health, so we have mental health workers that are there 24/7. At one point, I was told that we were like the third largest mental health facility in the state of Georgia. I mean, because we, we have so many mental health, we have a, we have a unit that’s dedicated to mental health. And of course there are other mental health cases that you’d seen any time in the housing unit when the deputies in the housing unit and somebody acting out of character or they just been sentenced to something. Well, they’ve been sentenced to a crime that they’ve committed. Then we usually, it’s an automatic red flag that pops up and we’ll have mental health go on and check them out, make sure that they are okay.
Rico: [00:34:56] How many, how many, how many prisoners are incarcerated in?
Floyd: [00:35:02] There can be right now that could be anywhere from 1,800 to 2,600 at any one given time, but it’s pretty much been on the low end. It’s been around 2000. Rico: [00:35:16] Okay. Is that a trend that we’re seeing, or is that just?
Floyd: [00:35:20] Well I hope it’s, it’s one of those things that it’s going to slowly go on a decline. You know what I mean? If you look at the ratio of people that are in Gwinnett County as opposed to who’s in the jail, that’s a small number.
Rico: [00:35:34] It is surprisingly small, actually. We have almost a million people and surprise. It’s only that’s, yeah.
Floyd: [00:35:40] Yeah.
Rico: [00:35:41] So, it’s interesting to me that the Gwinnett County sheriff is not just a law enforcement person, but you’re as such way ahead of, you’re like the CEO of a company really.
Floyd: [00:35:51] Absolutely.
Rico: [00:35:52] Cause you handle and you take care of the budgets. I mean, you have one big budget and I don’t know where the money comes from, if that… Floyd: [00:36:01] On the board of commissioners we erect from, they pretty much go before the board of commissioners and let them know. From, well, the years before. And you know, here’s a trend, what we’ve used in has been times when we didn’t use all the money and we actually turned it back into the County and let them know we’ve saved this amount of money. We didn’t need it. So we return it back to you.
Rico: [00:36:25] Do you think there’s any major renovation or major work that has to be done? Capital improvements?
Floyd: [00:36:30] I, well, that’s one of the things that I want to bring. Is at the jail, we need a parking deck. The parking on Wednesdays, they have a court, that administrative court. And the parking lot is bad. They have, we have an overt, we had an extended parking lot that’s way up the Hill around the corner that you have to park at and then walk, you know, walk through the parking lot. And, you know, it’s just, this is tedious. But if we had, The capital improvement would be that I suggested. I’ve already talked to some of that board of commissioners, and this made a suggestion that we would, if you will, build a parking deck for the employees so that they can have it. That way you can free up all that extra parking lot for the citizens.
Rico: [00:37:21] They could have control acts.
Floyd: [00:37:22] The control for the employees and they won’t have to worry about that car is getting bad in the last, because there’s been plenty of times when we’ve had to be run out to them in the parking lot because somebody’s car has been broken into or we find somebody that’s using. We’ve had people try to OD in the parking lot.
Rico: [00:37:43] Tried to OD on purpose?
Floyd: [00:37:45] Yeah, they, we got them with the needle in the arm. And they’re out and we have to give them that Narcan. Yeah. They bring them back.
Rico: [00:37:52] Said that Narcan could be done as many times as you feel like it’s, you get that high and get that Narcan four or five times, six times and just keep going until the last one might not work or this. The sad part about that I mean people are getting used to it. It says, is there any, anything that I’ve missed, Floyd, that you want to share with us?
Floyd: [00:38:15] One of the things that, that’s near and dear to me. I know there, I’ve been doing this business for, like I said, for over 40 years. But I don’t think, I don’t think any handle any law enforcement agency has ever gone and actually apologize to the citizens for some of the wrongs that have been done to them by law enforcement. You know, I feel that if any person or a loved one or a friend that they may know that ever been wronged by the law enforcement or for whatever reason. I wanted to apologize to them. I know we are, we are held by a high standard. I mean, we, we are, we give an oath to uphold the laws of the land. And we were supposed to treat every citizen with dignity and respect. And if anybody was ever treated less than what we are mandated in that we’ve sworn to do. Then I wanted to apologize to them and just ask for their forgiveness for all of law enforcement, because we’re not all bad. No, we’re not all bad. Yes, because a small percentage of us do that. You know, unfortunately we see it in the news and we capture it on video and believe me, that’s one of the things I want, I, I applaud is the fact that we do have the body cams. Because what it does is it eliminates, because when I used to work out on the street, if somebody filed a complaint against you, then you had to prove that right then that it wasn’t true. No matter how much integrity you have, right? You still have to prove it, but that body cam pretty much speaks for you as well.
Rico: [00:40:04] And I think that’s helpful because it seems to me that, you know, if someone’s going to like to be a criminal that’s lying more than an honest another person, let’s say. Cause they want to get out of what, what happened maybe? So that body cam is worn by sheriffs as well, not just police.
Floyd: [00:40:18] It’s worn by the sheriffs. They have, we even got inside of the jail with the rapid response team.
Rico: [00:40:25] Okay, so this way they can prove that whatever they’re doing this course to be doing that.
Floyd: [00:40:30] Oh yeah, absolutely. That’s one of the other things that, I will, revamp is the rapid response team because they got a lot of controversy around them for ELA. So we’re going to, it’s going to be a total retraining, reeducation, because I’ve seen the tactics. I wasn’t always happy with all the tactics, but I will say that once I become the sheriff that, that will be a revamping of the rapid response team. We, it’s definitely needed because we got, scenarios that, where the rapid response team was very needed. When I grew up, we, we, we grabbed a couple of deputies. Hey, let’s go get this person correct. Now they actually train. So we make sure that the training is consistent and that they’re there to help get the person on the control and down. That’s it. After they get him under control and taken away, it needs to be, then they back down. We’ve had some incidents where it’s been in the news where you have a person that’s mentally ill and you’ve got four guys on him and then you punch them in the face. I mean, that doesn’t make sense.
Rico: [00:41:46] No, that doesn’t. It really doesn’t. If they can’t control a person with four people. That’s just doesn’t make sense.
Floyd: [00:41:53] Yeah.
Rico: [00:41:54] We’ve been talking to Floyd M. Scott, the candidate for Gwinnett County sheriff. Where can we find out about you?
Floyd: [00:42:03] Well if you go to FloydScottSheriff2020.com you will find my webpage. I’ll pop right on up and May 19th…
Rico: [00:42:14] May 19th election day. And that’s primary day too.
Floyd: [00:42:18] Primary day, Floyd Scott.
Rico: [00:42:20] So go, go to that. And if you can’t remember that, just Google Floyd Scott for sheriff. And that will come up too, cause that’s what I did. This was a pleasure having you on.
Floyd: [00:42:31] Absolutely. Thank you.
Rico: [00:42:33] And I want to thank everyone for joining us. Want you to remember about HargrayFiber.com our lead sponsor as well as Atlanta tech park here in the city of Peachtree Corners. And don’t forget to get your next issue of Peachtree Corners magazine. It should have hit your mailboxes in the past week or so. And if it hasn’t, let me know cause then I have to get back on the post office. But thank you guys. Appreciate it. Thank you Floyd.
Floyd: [00:42:57] Thank you.
Early Voting Dates and Locations
If you plan to vote advance in person in the Nov. 3 General and Special Election, you can vote from Oct. 12 to Oct. 30 at the following locations:
*Remember, Peachtree Corners voters, you will be casting your ballots for federal, state and county elections and referendums. As there are no city elections this year, City Hall will not be open for voting.
For questions call 678-226-7210.
Gwinnett Voter Registrations & Elections Beauty P. Baldwin Building
455 Grayson Highway, Suite 200 Lawrenceville, GA 30046
8:00am to 5:00pm
Bogan Park Community Recreation Center
2723 North Bogan Road Buford, GA 30518
7:00am to 7:00pm
Lenora Park Gym
4515 Lenora Church Road Snellville, GA 30078
7:00am to 7:00pm
Dacula Park Activity Building
2735 Old Auburn Road Dacula, GA 30019
7:00am to 7:00pm
Lucky Shoals Park Community Recreation Center
4651 Britt Road Norcross, GA 30093
7:00am to 7:00pm
George Pierce Park Community Recreation Center
55 Buford Highway Suwanee, GA 30024
7:00am to 7:00pm
Gwinnett County Fairgrounds
2405 Sugarloaf Parkway, Lawrenceville, GA 30045
7:00am to 7:00pm
Mountain Park Activity Building
1063 Rockbridge Road Stone Mountain, GA 30087
7:00am to 7:00pm
Shorty Howell Park Recreation Center
2750 Pleasant Hill Road Duluth, GA 30096
7:00am to 7:00pm
ABSENTEE VOTING BY MAIL
Georgia law allows for absentee by mail ballots to be requested up to 180 days before an election. To request an absentee ballot, voters should complete an absentee ballot application and return the absentee ballot application to their county registration office. Absentee ballot applications can be returned by mail, fax, email (as an attachment), or in-person to the local County Board of Registrar’s Office.
How will State Senate Candidate Matt Reeves Help Peachtree Corners
Republican State Senate District 48 candidate Matt Reeves joins host Rico Figliolini on Peachtree Corners Life podcast to discuss COVID-19, the Governor’s response, mask-wearing, social justice, police reforms, Black Lives Matters, kids going back to school, education funding, state ethics and why he’s running for the State Senate.
[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:02:16] – About Matt
[00:07:01] – Thoughts on COVID
[00:13:26] – Education Issues
[00:16:31] – Budget Cuts
[00:18:55] – Black Lives Matter, Immigrants, and Minorities
[00:26:55] – Police Force
[00:32:47] – Term Limits
[00:34:55] – Ethics in Government
[00:38:38] – Closing
Social Media: @MattReevesGA
“We all chose this area because of the strong schools, jobs, safe communities, good health care. And I want to make sure that all those quality of life pillars of our community are strong going forward.”Matt Reeves
Recorded socially safe online and in the City of Peachtree Corners, Georgia
Rico: [00:00:30] Hi everyone. This is Rico Figliolini host of Peachtree Corners Life. And, I appreciate you coming to the show. We’re doing this socially safe in the city of Peachtree Corners. And before we get to our guest, who’s on screen. Matt Reeves. Hey Matt, how are you?
Matt: [00:00:45] Hello.
Rico: [00:00:46] I’ll introduce him and go in to introduce himself. But first, before we get into that, I want to just talk about our lead sponsor, Hargray Fiber. They’re a Southeastern company that does fiber optics for the business community and for consumers. But the fiber side of it is delivering the type of speed and services necessary for small businesses and large businesses, enterprise businesses, to do their work in this teleworking environment, during the COVID-19. And hopefully, and providing services, unlike the cable companies. Really they’re right there community and they’re providing a lot of things in the community. They are very involved in every community they’re in, whether it’s Savannah, Peachtree Corners, Macon Georgia all over the Southeast, Tallahassee, Florida, they are there. So visit HargrayFiber.com or Hargray.com/business to find out how you can work your smart office and work with them. So now that we’ve done that, I want to tell you that we’re going to be discussing a lot of issues over the next 30 to 40 minutes with Republican State Senate candidate, Matt Reeves. We’re going to be discussing issues of the day; COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, state ethics, term limits, all sorts of things. We’re going to be going back and forth on this, but before we get into all that, I’d like to have Matt introduce himself and tell us why we should be listening to him as a candidate for State Senate.
Matt: [00:02:16] Thanks Rico and great to connect with folks in the audience from Peachtree Corners. Definitely want to be a great advocate for Peachtree Corners in Gwinnett County, in North Bolton, in the States Senate. My name is Matt Reeves. I’m a resident of Duluth for the last 17 years. So I live right next door in Gwinnett County. I have practiced law business and real estate litigation at Anderson St. Cornwall firm for about 17 years. I went to university of Georgia law school before that, and then Mercer undergrad to college before that. My wife Suzette and I, and our three kids who are eleventh grade, eighth grade and fifth grade. Live in the Duluth, we’re active in the community. And I just want to serve our community and keep the quality of life strong in Peachtree Corners, Duluth, Swanee, Lawrenceville, Johns Creek, part of Alpharetta, part of Norcross, for the next generation. We all chose this area because of the strong schools, jobs, safe communities, good health care. And I want to make sure that all those quality of life pillars of our community are strong going forward. The State Senate has 35 Republicans and 21 Democrats. I’m reaching out to independents, to centrist Democrats as well as Republicans, to be a good advocate for our community, because I believe I can get more done for Peachtree Corners in the State Senate on the Republican side of the aisle. I know there are a couple of issues, Rico that you’ve selected, but just, you know, one thing to know is, I spent some time at the Capitol years ago, was a lawyer for the house judiciary committee in 2008. I worked with Wendell Willer, who was the, one of the leaders on the new cities movement, which Peachtree corners benefited greatly from. Chairman Tom Rice was laying the
groundwork for the work in the legislature for Peachtree Corners as was Senator David Schaefer in 2008, when I was down there. Dunwoody was the city that was spearheaded during the session that I was down there. But, I got to see the early stages of Peachtree Corners. And over the last eight years, Peachtree Corners definitely has been a leader in our region, as a new city and I look forward to being an effective advocate and a bipartisan problem-solver on behalf of Peachtree Corners in the state Senate. And I hope to earn people’s support, in the community for this, competitive State Senate seat.
Rico: [00:04:32] Yeah, I’m glad you, you came on with me. I remember doing this from home. I think about two, two and a half years ago during the campaign in 2018, when you ran the first time. And that was, you know, during the, was it the blue wave, we shall say. Democrats coming into, house seats in positions. 2020 is a little different. You know, I don’t know if that, if that still will go on. So this is a proven, this is going to be a test, right. To some degree to see what the voters want. And so this is good way to be able to talk to you and, and see if, if your points of view is what the voters here want in 2020.
Matt: [00:05:12] And I, politics, and partisan politics, changes like the weather. I think what, folks in Peachtree Corners and Gwinnett County, what they ask is who can do the best job for them in this particular office. And, that’s what I’m focusing on in the States Senate race. Who can do the best job for Peachtree Corners in the State Senate seat for the benefit of our schools. The safety of our communities, transportation solutions, health care, the things that are important to us and make our communities strong. Who can be a better advocate in the State Senate. And, you know, David Shaffer was the president pro-tem of the Senate. He was number one out of 50 senators. The, the Democrat who won in 2018 got put on the agriculture committee, which is not exactly the kind of position Peachtree Corners wants to have down there in the Senate and then wait for higher office. And it’s an open seat again. So we get to make a choice about for the next two years, who can serve Peachtree Corners and tackle the issues that face our homeowners and, and, voters, families, and small businesses in Peachtree Corners and be a good advocate in this turbulent time where you’ve got, you know, COVID-19, you’ve got civil unrest. Who can lead the way and make sure Georgia remains number one in jobs, has increasing number of jobs with health insurance coverage. You know, there’s no government program any better for an adult then a job is. There’s no government program, any better for a child than a family is. I think state government ought to do a few things and do them well and keep a climate where we have, where we continue to be, attractive for employers and jobs so that, families can meet their, their needs and have their kids, getting educated and going to college and have a bright future in the job market. That’s my goal, in the State Senate.
Rico: [00:07:01] Yeah. And it’s interesting cause it’s, it is certainly a different look at it. More conservative, look at it. I do believe in personal responsibilities, but I also believe government is there to do certain things. Certainly I believe the federal government you’re spearheaded more than they have during the COVID-19 time. But you know, different points of views. And this is what this is about. An election in 2020, different than any other election in our history for a simple matter that lot of people may not be going to the polls in person, right? They’re going to
be mailed ballots. I mean, Georgia put out over 6 million absentee ballot requests forms, and over a million responded, more than any, you know, I think it was 10 to 12 times more than any other year in fact. So that may still happen November third. We may still end up doing that, seeing that happen because of COVID-19. So staying on the issue of COVID-19, do you think Governor Kemp has done the right job in, in, in the approach that he has done? Would you do anything different? Do you see the State Senate providing any other leadership in this from your point of view?
Matt: [00:08:09] Going forward, what, what I would do, as a State Senator is to make sure that the 95% or more of the population that has not directly encountered COVID, that they have their healthcare needs attended to without disruption. This has been an unexpected, invisible enemy that has attacked us. We’ve handled things on an urgent basis, but, it troubles me to see that a hundred percent of the resources in health care and in, you know, the government part of the government that deals with healthcare is devoted to COVID, when we got folks with diabetes, heart conditions, cancer, many other elective surgery. I talked to somebody this week who has had a thyroid procedure delayed since March, due to COVID issues. And I want to make sure that we definitely attack COVID to preserve lives and livelihoods, but also, make sure that healthcare needs for the other 95% of the population are attended to. And, you know, part of that is, making sure that we’re smart about how we open back up. You know, it sounds like right now, the thing that has gotten us up at the top in Gwinnett County, and then you look in Texas and Houston, we have a very, strong young population and, people like my mother-in-law and people, my age and older have heeded, the warnings. I’ve got my, I’ve got my UGA mask and you know, if I’m out in doors in public, I’ve got that mask on. My office has adopted a protocol from a local engineering firm that is working well here. We get the memo and the middle age and up here in Gwinnett County, but young people have, I think, too rapidly, disregarded social distancing and other health cautions for COVID. And also translating into multigenerational families, who, with English as a second language, I think that we need to do a better job of reaching out. Because both in Atlanta, as well as Houston and some other major Metro areas. Those are two areas, I heard Dr. Arona, the Gwinnett County and Rockdale and Newton health director, this, this week, mentioned that. That Wilburn and Norcross, the testing centers there, you see a lot of multigenerational families, with English as second language, getting hit hard by COVID. So we need to literally communicate in a credible and strong way, that’s easy to understand for our diverse population. I think that will turn the curve. You know, back in March and April the focus nationally and in Georgia was bending the curve. And we did that for a large portion of the population, but we are now a top 15 Metro area in the country. And Gwinnett County is leading Atlanta in cases because I think in large part of young people, as well as they…
Rico: [00:11:02] We’re a larger population. We’re a larger population too, right? The biggest County in the state. I mean, when I drive by CVS that’s right near here on certain days, there will be 15 cars wrapped around that building. So people doing the testing. We’re still some of the, some of the testing. It has to be referred testing it seems. So you have to be symptomatic to a degree. The doctor has to send you there. In some places you don’t have to be symptomatic.
Like Georgia Tech, Walgreens, I think will accept and do testing for you if you’re asymptomatic. You know, there’s that, but for a long time too, I know some of the cities that, it’s difficult to mandate a mask, I guess, right to some degree? Cause if you’ve mandated, you have to penalize it. If you’re not wearing it, right? Cause otherwise does that work or not? Now I’ve had the discussion with my son about this and he brings up a good point. He says, well, Yes. Sure. Do you cite people $50 or $75 for that ticket? Or does the governor mandate it and even if no one gets cited for it, right? There’s a different feel about being, saying that the mask is mandated and people will understand then maybe that they really do need to wear that mask. You know, so sometimes it’s perception, right? It’s the, the lens that you look through it. But we need to do something because it’s just not, I mean, I go out with the mask all the time, I guess I’m part of that demo.
Matt: [00:12:28] Well, and also COVID is an international crisis. And so not only do we have 50 States that we can learn healthcare and medical lessons from, but we have literally hundreds of countries who have approached the situation differently. And there are some success stories in Asia and other countries, South Korea, Japan. Also the US is one of the few countries that takes the summer off of school. And so, hitting in January and, and, ramping up and really reaching us in mass and March, now, and having six and seven months of experience internationally with COVID. I, you know, 95% of the parents locally want to get their kids back in school in person, but I think we can look around the world and see best practices on, getting kids and teachers safely returned to school.
Rico: [00:13:26] So what would, what would you do to do that? I know there’s a, you know, I have a 16 year old that wants, he wants to go back to school. He’s, he wants to be able to do an AP Calculus in person versus online, right? So there are kids that want to go back for social reasons also. How can we keep them safe then? Is there anything, how would your leadership change on that? You know, how do we put them back to school?
Matt: [00:13:51] Number one, I trust the locals. I think the local school boards and local school superintendents, can make decisions for the best interest of their teachers and students better than somebody in downtown Atlanta or Washington, DC can. And I think that North Fulton, which their biggest schools in North Fulton are, you know, 1,500 to 2,000 students. Where in Gwinnett we have the jumbo size high schools with closer to 3,000 or more students a lot of times. So every school system is different. I think that, we all listen closely to parents and, and in large numbers of students also, saying they want to get back in person. But there are some outliers where people want to do digital learning for health reasons or other reasons, or personal precaution reasons. So I think that we ought to give people choices whenever possible in this uncharted waters of COVID. But I think we need to do everything we can to get kids back to school safely, as well as teachers. And we need to look around the country. We need to look around the world about how other countries and other States have safely, had had, students returned to school. The toll on these young people’s education is high. And, we need to make sure that, the ground that was lost in March and April and May, that we make up for that and the kids don’t get behind. Because you know, there’s a digital divide in Gwinnett it’s discernible. A
lot of kids didn’t have the technology readily available when they got sent home, kids never logged in. Some of that is, support at home priority on education. Other, other, situation is it’s resources. But getting those kids’ attention back on their education is critical.
Rico: [00:15:33] So, so let me ask you this and then we’ll, and then I want to move on to another subject. But just to close this out a little bit, the budget, the state budget cut education. They cut a lot of things across the board, but it did cut education as part of it. Gwinnett County’s remaining, with its budget, I believe they’re not going to furlough people. They are mandating masks, so obviously they need to buy PPE stuff to be able to do that. Because some people may not have masks and some kids and families and stuff. They’re going to need those masks, right? So they’re mandating that for the Fall, if they actually open up. And they’re giving two choices, either you do online learning or you do in person learning. So it depends on how people want to choose that, or where they want to go. And if they can afford to do that. Like you said, people are going back to work to some degree, unless things get rolled back. So where do they send their kids while they working, right? Because the school works almost as a daycare in a way.
Matt: [00:16:31] Yeah.
Rico: [00:16:31] Kids in school during the time that adults are working and stuff. So, you know, the State cut that budget. I mean, would you have voted for that cut? Would you, what would you have done? How would you have affected that? How would you want to help school systems throughout the state because Gwinnett County is one that probably can afford to do some of this stuff, but there are other counties and other parts that might not be to do that same thing. So how would you, how would a Matt Reeves position be on some or something like that?
Matt: [00:17:02] Rico when times are tough and the revenue decreases in state government, it becomes all the more critical to have a strong advocate for your area down in the State Senate, because I was there in 2008 when revenue started to decline, as the great recession hit. And I saw what happens when you have limited resources, the ones who were effective advocates for their districts, or the areas of Georgia that are looked after well, at that point, that was towards the tail end of Governor Perdue’s time in office. So folks in middle Georgia, were well looked after. That’s where, Larry O’Neil was chairman of ways and means. He was literally Governor Perdue’s lawyer back, back home on personal matters. And so, in a competitive political landscape where we have, very strongly held feelings on national issues. I would ask folks in Peachtree Corners in Gwinnett County and North Fulton for this critical State Senate seat ask who can help our area the best in the State Senate, where it’s 35 Republicans, 21 Democrats. I want education money at a time when times are tough financially to go to Gwinnett County schools. If we have somebody who’s on the short end of a 35 to 21 vote, you’re going to have funds go to Cobb County, Forsyth County, Cherokee County, where folks are in the majority. I want to be a strong and effective advocate for North Fulton schools and Gwinnett schools in the State Senate. When, you know, there’s a saying, if you’re not at the table, you’re on the table. And, you know, we’re talking a lot about healthcare and, and, I want to be in the position of
getting resources and decisions and public policy made in favor of our Gwinnett and North Fulton schools, rather than having others make those decisions for the benefit of their own districts elsewhere.
Rico: [00:18:55] How do you, so, so let’s, and I appreciate that. And I think that the citizens of Peachtree Corners appreciates that point of view. They want their representatives to, you know, think big, broad, but they’re also local, right? Because we all, that’s why we have a representative there to be able to talk local and be able to help a city like ours or the area that you represent, Swanee and the other areas as well. But let’s change directions a little bit. Let’s talk about the other news because 2020 is just unusual for all sorts of reasons. So COVID-19 is one, but also the social unrest. Black lives matter, the, whole social justice, police violence against black community, people of black and brown color. It’s just been a tough situation, it’s been also a tough situation to speak honestly, a little bit about these things, because sometimes people can get shut down on both sides of it. Rather than being, allowed to be transparent and talk about issues, because it’s a sensitive issue. And, so I know people are out there saying, well, some people shouldn’t even talk about this issue because maybe they don’t have a, an experience in it. But I think we all need to talk about it right, culturally and for a variety of reasons. How do you feel about this issue? Where would, you know, what do you think the state Senate should do? What do you think your position on, on this should be? And where are you on the speed?
Matt: [00:20:24] Well, I learned a lot and I listened in the peaceful protest in Duluth. My wife Suzette and I went to that along with friends from a group of, city ministry team friends that we had through Perimeter church. There’s a group of pastors in Duluth called the Unite Churches, which is a culturally diverse group of pastors, African American, Asian, Latino, perimeter church, which is, you know, a growingly diverse church, but a lot of Caucasian people, there. But, we went to that peaceful protest, listened and learned a lot, and cared and expressed attention and concern, with this issue. Obviously what happened with George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, and others, it’s wrong. It’s tragic. It showed us that sometimes you can have a fatal and, and murder, actions by folks who wear a uniform. You know, the bill of rights, going back to our founding documents, half of the bill of rights dealt with the criminal justice and keeping government in check and serving the people. 99% of folks with a badge and law enforcement are good people who are serving the public. But there’s always a danger of disastrous consequences of folks in, in, with government power abusing that, particularly, with minorities and other people who are, you know, are helpless, and in custody and, you know, can’t breathe. And so, that hurts my heart. It’s something I want to do something about, but I would like to acknowledge the fact that Georgia has been a leader in what people are asking for now, criminal justice reform. Over the last decade, Georgia has been a leader in the nation in that area. We have, put a priority on getting people rehabilitated and back into the workforce and not having a Scarlet letter for life if you make a mistake. We’ve, we’ve said in Georgia, we want to get people off of drugs and out of a life of crime, and we want to get people educated and employed. I think that’s a good thing. And, you know, we don’t want to warehouse people in jail and throw away the key. We want to get people rehabilitated. Now, folks, who’ve made a decision to live a life of armed robbery and
home invasion, and rape and murder and gun crimes. Yeah, they need to be locked up . But yeah, there are many, first time offenders, sadly people who’ve come, back and are young veterans who, you know, were suffering from a disruption in their life. We have a veterans court in Gwinnett, as a result of that criminal justice reform that we’re helping young veterans who’ve come back and kind of lost their way in addiction and, and other pain, and made some bad choices. So DUI court, veterans court, mental health court, intervention in a way that turns around, people. That’s been, something that’s been good, you know Georgia started as a debtor’s colony. We’ve always believed in a second chance and I think we need to realize our…
Rico: [00:23:19] Also Georgia has a lot of history and other things as well.
Matt: [00:23:24] Well, Martin Luther King. Martin Luther King is from here, the black community and the Christian community in Georgia produced Martin Luther King. And so Georgia has some very special things. We’re now a leader in population and economy. We need to step up to the plate and lead the way in the country on criminal justice reform and other things.
Rico: [00:23:44] So what would you? So then Matt I, listen, I come from New York. So moving down here in ’95, South of the Mason Dixon line, if you will. It’s an old term right, now most people won’t know that I guess. But you know, it is different. If I go out into, and good people, I’m not saying bad people, good people, good ways. But there’s certainly different points of views depending where you go in the state. So not everything is, as good as, as it needs to be, right? That’s all be honest about that.
Matt: [00:24:13] Right, and Rico, let me say on that, my metric, whether you’re in Americus Georgia, or Albany Georgia, or Macon, or here in Gwinnett County. I think every black parent and grandparent, they want their young people to have a diploma, to have career opportunities, to have money in the bank, to be treated fairly. Those are things I think that we can agree on across racial lines, and make sure that the American dream is alive and well in Georgia. But my metric is those. Let’s get our young people educated, have bright employment opportunity, and make sure that they have access to the American dream and they’re not barriers there. Look around Atlanta, we even have more community banks with black entrepreneurs leading the way and, and, if you look at Metro city bank at Verse Intercontinental bank you have some Asian and Indian banks, we even got a Chinese, a new bank and John’s Creek. We need to have a black…
Rico: [00:25:11] There’s Loyal Trust Bank, yeah.
Matt: [00:25:12] That’s right.
Rico: [00:25:13] Yeah. And I, and I agree with you. I mean, I think economically anyone that moves up into the middle class is always better. Because any, any group group of people that do that. I mean, it goes back, I could go back to, you know, we could do the history lesson or go back to the Irish, to Germany, the Italian. Go back to the Asians that came to this country from a
variety of countries, whether it was Laos, Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam. And how a lot of them moved up the ladder. The Latinos that came here that, hard workers, all of them. It seems to be immigrants are always hard workers. There’s a reason why they took the danger and the things to be able to come here because they want to succeed. So there’s a lot to be said about that, right?
Matt: [00:25:58] Here’s, here’s a good example about immigrants. The pharmacy in the neighborhood where that Wendy’s was where the shooting and then the ensuing civil unrest happened, the pharmacy in that neighborhood was started by an immigrant gentlemen from Swanee who invested his life work and life savings down there in that neighborhood, which is near where the brave stadium was where Georgia state has taken over. He had some confidence on that neighborhood, but there are a lot of senior citizens there who are homebound, they deliver a lot of those prescriptions, those senior citizens in need. There are schools there. It is tragic to have all hell breaking loose in that neighborhood that was on the upswing and revitalizing. That has a lot of people who’ve lived there their whole life, and now they’re senior citizens. You’ve got kids in school, George Washington Carver is the high school there. We need to restore safety to communities, ASAP.
Rico: [00:26:55] So then what would you do, Matt? As far as, and then let’s, let’s move on to some other issues too, but just to, because it’s, it’s the thing that’s out there. What would you do to reform police? What would be legislation that would be out there? You know, there’s the, there’s several proposals out there as far as, stopping choke holds and, and, limiting liability so that people can sue the police and stuff like that. What would you do? What would be the specific reforms that you’d like to see go in?
Matt: [00:27:24] Well, I would get to the basics first. I think that the, examining police training and make sure that the new officers who are coming in the Police Academy are getting best management practices of being effective law enforcement and also not having unnecessary escalation. I think that, community policing works. So I think having a recruitment effort of letting middle school and high school students in Clayton County and Dekalb County and Fulton County inside the perimeter know that you have a bright future, both on your, your education as well as employment. If you want to devote your career to being in law enforcement in your own community and making things better in your own community, everybody wants free college. You can go to technical school, do criminal justice there, or get a two year degree for a very low cost and then go to a four year college in Georgia for criminal justice, again at very low costs. And then graduate and be a community police officer in Atlanta and have a bright future. And I think letting kids know that in Georgia, we respect law enforcement and that we support law enforcement and young people in our diverse, young generation have a bright future in law enforcement and we ought to be on the same side. So I think the police training, recruitment. Also little things like, Bruce Lavelle reminded me of the CIB community improvement district. They had an idea about cops, cops in the neighborhood program where housing is an issue. You mentioned the salary of police officers, as we were talking earlier is low. And that pushes a lot of police officers to go moonlight in second or third jobs, which stresses them out when
they’re back on the job as a police officer. Housing, if we can get some affordable housing for law enforcement officers to live in the communities that they police and, be integral parts of the community. Many are already, but housing costs in Atlanta has really sort of disrupted. I, as I’m out in neighborhoods across the 48 Senate District, I see police cars for multiple jurisdictions. And if we could, make sure that, the law enforcement officers are in the community and visible and tied in with their own community where they’re policing. I think that’ll help a lot. But more than anything else, I think we need to have the message that America is a republic and a democracy. Things don’t work in America for people to be out of work and out of school. We need to get things back where our kids are learning and our businesses are functioning fully because bad things are happening. Some of them we needed to address. But when I, you mentioned, your background in New York, I was very disturbed to see what’s happening in New York this week, in terms of violence, gratuitous violence. That is not helping anything for people to be hitting police officers over the head with bats. And, and it raises the question, who’s giving out those bats? I’ve seen some pictures of people dropping pallets off of bricks during a protest.
Rico: [00:30:23] I don’t know about that part of it. Yeah, I mean, there’s all sorts of things on the web and stuff and social media that, are they real are they not. I mean, it’s just, it’s a variety of things. And I’m not saying, you know, violence, even if, if, if a group is angry because of what’s going on, there is no reason in the world. I don’t care. There’s no reason to throw a Molotov cocktail into an empty police car. There’s no reason to be burning a Wendy’s down. There’s just no reason for any of that violence. It’s just, it, it doesn’t help the cause. And it changes, it does change the narrative and to a bad way, right? Because everyone says, Oh, that changes the narrative when you discuss that. You don’t what, it has to be discussed because it’s wrong. How do we teach our kids? I teach my kids right and wrong. Now, you know, I don’t know about other people, but if it’s wrong to throw a Molotov cocktail into a car, it’s wrong. You just don’t drive by and throw one in there. Even if it’s empty. It’s just like, I can never understand that. But, I agree with you. I mean, we have to, it’s a cultural thing too, and we have to really observe all of that and really come, at least move down the road a little bit right? Everything you’ve said, it makes sense to, you know, to that. And we do need to way change the way some of the police are trained I guess. Let’s move on to some other issues we are getting towards the end of our time together. So I do want to make sure we hit a few things.
Matt: [00:31:52] Sure. And Rico, let me just say, Gwinnett schools. Gwinnett police that’s who polices Peachtree Corners? Gwinnett Police, Gwinnett Police, I’ve done ride alongs through leadership Gwinnett and pay attention to what’s going on in my local. Who’s gonna fight for the budget gaps that are needed when, we need funding as well as public policy changes, for Gwinnett Police and, and for our local police departments. I want to be an effective advocate. That’s the stakes in the State Senate race. Who can go down there and get things done for our local law enforcement, our local schools, transportation solutions, healthcare. Washington is not going to solve our healthcare. We can’t just punt and say Medicaid is going to take it over. We need to make sure that we have jobs and insurance and good health care networks here in Georgia. No one’s gonna do it for us. We’ve got to go, send an advocate from our community down there to get good things done on those basic needs.
Rico: [00:32:47] Okay. Good to hear. The other issues you’ve been talking about, I think on the campaign trail has been, nonpartisan, County officer’s nonpartisan term limits. Do you think State Senate should be term limited?
Matt: [00:33:02] Yes. I think if you can’t go get good things done in eight years, pass the baton to somebody else who could do it. Now, when you get elected, I think you oughta serve out your term, and, you know, not be looking at some other higher office. You need to be focused on doing a good job in a short amount of time and then go live under the laws that you make. That’s the principle of having nonpartisan and term limited elections. All of the cities in the 48 Senate district have nonpartisan municipal elections and it works great. Gwinnett County, we now have a multi billion dollar County budget, a multibillion dollar school budget, and of course in Fulton County, they have an equally large school and County budget. Their population is over a million we’re right at a million in Gwinnett. I think having more people having a seat at the table with this high population and budget is a good thing. I think, having citizen legislators and not partisan career politicians, I think that would be a good improvement. Our cities are already doing it and let’s pass it on to our counties. Now this is not a new issue for me. I’ve been an advocate for this in the past, I was the Republican party lawyer, as well as, the Gwinnett County bar association president. And I got called upon, from having served in those two roles to advocate for the master court and the probate court, in Gwinnett to go nonpartisan, six or seven years ago, representative Chuck F Thracian, was a leader in that initiative. Those offices went nonpartisan years ago. I got to go to the bill signing. I’ve got the, the bill signing pen from Governor Deal and those nonpartisan offices have worked well since then, as well as our cities being nonpartisan. And listen, I’m a bipartisan problem solver. I’m a fiscal conservative and, and proud to be a Republican, but I want to reach out to Democrats and Independents and get some good public policy that will serve our community in our state. That’s what I’m all about.
Rico: [00:34:55] Cool. The, let’s get back, okay. And by the way, if anyone notices, there has been some interruption of our Facebook live stream, so you’ll get this full version, after, after the show. So what, you know, let’s. Let’s talk a bit about, you know, term limits is one thing. Yes, we want to make sure that, we have new, new, fresh people in place instead of someone in there 20 years, let’s say. Cause that’s having people in a position too long. There’s something to be said about experience, but there’s also something to be said about, the power structure. When you have people in place for 20 or 30 years in the same seat, right. It becomes a bit of a, contrary to growth if you will. But ethics, ethics is the other issue, that you discuss. Ethics is very tough issue. It’s tough to be self regulated. It’s tough for a body, a State Senator, a state house to have their own ethics committee. And they’re going to self regulate themselves. That’s a bit of an issue. I don’t know how well that can be done. And it seems like it almost never can be done well, I’ve never seen it yet that way. How, how do you think you can do it differently?
Matt: [00:36:06] Sure. And I put this in there just to let folks know in the Senate district, that I think that, state government and the State Senate ought to serve the people and that ought to be the focus and we ought to have transparency in government. And, we need to have, you
know, a vibrant system where everybody knows what’s going on at the Capitol. Now, the state ethics commissioner is across the street from the Capitol, the house and Senate have their own ethics committees. But what I’m talking about is the state ethics commission, I want to make sure they have the resources and the infrastructure to handle their matters promptly. There was just so much, so much turnover over the course of a decade in that office. So we’ve now got a good former prosecutor in there. We’ve got some great lawyers and personnel in the office, and I want to make sure that they can process their cases efficiently. Just like a good district attorney’s office would. You look at Danny Porter and how well he runs things in Gwinnett. And I, I, I don’t think that their focus should be prosecuting people, but I think that they, they should have a good efficient system where they process their cases from beginning to end a lot more quickly and efficiently. And there’s a procedure to weed out the overtly political matters that get opened up versus ones where there’s an actual problem with disclosure and transparency. I’ve raised my money locally from people primarily in the Senate district, or sometimes at the Senate district. I look at races around Metro Atlanta, and you have this flood of outside money coming in and you don’t really know where it’s coming from or why it’s, you know, being spent here in Georgia. But I want to make sure that the State Senate has its focus on serving the people in their districts and there’s transparency and ethics in government public service and citizen, legislators. That’s what we need down there at the Capitol and transparency and I believe strongly in that. My dad retired a couple years ago from being a DA in the Southwestern circuit. I worked at the DA’s office in law school. I drove up to Madison County every Friday in my last year in law school and did prosecution there so I’m familiar with that whole process of how a prosecutor’s office works. And although they’re not, I don’t want them to be criminal, I do want them to have the resources, the personnel, the procedures in place to be efficient and effective and make sure that we match up with our population. Georgia is going to be almost a top five state after the census. We’ve been number one in jobs. We’re almost the top five state. We need to overhaul everything in state government and make sure that we’re delivering that kind of excellence to our citizens.
Rico: [00:38:38] Excellent. We are at the end of our time together. So usually what I do, Matt and we’ve done this before, is that I’ll have the candidate ask for the vote. So you have about two minutes. Give us why Matt Reeves should be the State Senate rep for district 48.
Matt: [00:38:58] Peachtree Corners, you are blessed to have some great elected officials. Mayor Mason, the city council, first lady mrs. Mayor, Debbie Mason, Mary Kay Murphy school board representative, Ben Coux, formally, Linette Howard. You’ve got a great bunch of local elected officials. I want to, augment that excellence down at the State Capitol and effectively be an advocate for Peachtree Corners down there. Bi-partisan problem solving, you look at the Simpsonwood matter where I represented the church. I worked closely with UPCCA that’s how I met Scott Hilton years ago. I worked with the elected officials at the city and the County went to probate court, superior court, appellate court. But problem solved along the way in a way that, that property is now a park rather than not a controversy that worries everybody. So, that’s a good example of what I’ve done out here and the history of the last 17 years as a business and real estate litigation lawyer. And I’ve also cared about the community. I’ve been actively involved
in things like the Duluth parks board, the Gwinnett County education, SPLOST renewal campaign, rotary and other civic matters. I care about the future of our community, just like you do. I want to be an effective advocate for Peachtree Corners, Berkeley Lake, Duluth, and other communities down in the State Senate. I’d be honored to earn your support. Matt Reeves for Senate is my website. Matt Reeves for State Senate on Facebook and, @MattReevesGA on Twitter. Let me hear from you (770) 236-9768 is my number. Call me anytime. I’d love to get to hear about you and your perspective on how Peachtree Corners can be an excellent community through advocacy in the state Senate over the next two years. Thank you.
Rico: [00:40:40] Excellent, Matt. Thank you. I appreciate you coming on. Stay with me while we log off, but everyone, thank you for listening in. Matt Reeves candidate, Republican candidate for State Senate district 48. That represents, that represent Peachtree corners among other cities within that State Senate district. So that’s coming up, November 3rd is the election. There’s early voting. That’s going to be happening obviously for that, I believe
Matt: [00:41:03] October 12th
Rico: [00:41:05] October 12th.
Matt: [00:41:06] That’s early voting
Rico: [00:41:08] Well, okay. Right. The election if you deemed to go in the, November third is, is the it’s but yeah. October 12th. So check out the, go to, you know, make sure you, you’re actually, can people register to vote yet?
Matt: [00:41:23] Absolutely. Gwinnett County board of elections, as well as secretary of state, if you’ve moved or you’re new, get registered now. Make sure there’s no surprises as you get close to the election and be prepared to either absentee vote, early vote, starting October 12th or vote in person November the third.
Rico: [00:41:43] Excellent. Thanks, Matt. I appreciate you being with us. Thank you everyone
Matt: [00:41:46] Thank you for your time.
Official drop boxes available for absentee/advance by mail ballots
Eight official ballot drop boxes are now in place across Gwinnett County to provide eligible voters with a new way to return absentee/advance by mail ballots for the June 9 Presidential Preference Primary, General Primary, and Nonpartisan Election. No postage is necessary on ballots placed in the drop boxes. The secure drop boxes are monitored by video and available 24/7 at these locations:
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