Former deputy runs for sheriff

A 20-year veteran of the Muscogee County Sheriff's Office said Saturday he will make a run for sheriff.

"I believe that complacency has become a mode of operation for the sheriff department and the citizens of Columbus deserves more," former deputy John Darr told about 20 supporters on the plaza level of the Columbus Government Center. He retired March 17 to run for the top job.

As sheriff, Darr said he would work to improve training and allow employees to move to other positions to keep them. The sheriff is responsible for maintaining the Muscogee County Jail, securing the courts and serving civil papers in the county.

Darr, 41, said there's also a need to improve trust between the office and residents.

"We either got to bridge that gap we have with them or have to open some lines of communication to foster that trust back," Darr said.

He cited the Kenneth Walker case as one that raised concerns about trust. Walker was fatally shot Dec. 10, 2003, by Muscogee County Deputy Sheriff David Glisson after the SUV in which Walker was riding was pulled over on Interstate 185 as part of a drug investigation. Although cocaine was later discovered in Walker's body during an autopsy, no drugs or firearms were found in the vehicle or on Walker or the SUV's other occupants. "My opinion is that we did not reach out to the Kenneth Walker family," Darr said. "You had a tragic situation and not having knowledge and know what's going on. That's uncertainty that nobody likes. You can't have that."

Darr, who is married and the father of four children, said he had considered running for the last year and a half. "It's something I felt with conviction that I really needed to do," he said.

The former deputy said he will qualify on Monday.