Kevin “Chappy” Hynes will challenge incumbent Sheriff Scott Berry in the 2016 election.
According to the Oconee Enterprise, Hynes is most well known as the previous Fellowship of Christian Athletes chaplain of the University of Georgia football team. He is also married to Mark Richt’s sister.
The mission of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes is to challenge coaches and athletes on the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth levels to use the powerful medium of athletics to impact the world for Jesus Christ. FCA focuses on serving local communities by equipping, empowering and encouraging people to make a difference for Christ.
Hynes currently serves as chaplain to the UGA basketball team, and until recently he was a reserve deputy and chaplain for the Oconee County’s Sheriff’s Office, according to an Oconee Enterprise article.
Hynes said to the Oconee Enterprise he hopes to bring “a fresh model of leadership, a renewed vision and a motivated mission” to the Sheriff’s Office.
Hynes has law enforcement experience dating back to the 1990s, where he served in Florida. He earned an associate’s degree in criminal justice and later a bachelor’s degree in biblical studies. He also served with the United States Marine Corps.
Hynes graduated from the Athens Police Academy in 2013, where he earned top cadet and top shot honors, according to the article.
Hynes told the Oconee Enterprise he believes his education in military and law enforcement combined with his many years of experience on campus gives him a unique perspective on leadership.
“As your sheriff I will hold those who choose to break the law accountable,” he said in the article. “While maintaining the compassion to serve those who are victims of a crime.”
Scott Berry has 35 years of combined experience including five consecutive terms as Sheriff. He also served as the president of the Georgia Sheriff's Association.
The Oconee Patch published a profile of Berry’s career in 2012. According to that article, during Berry’s term as Sheriff he has nearly doubled its force of deputies and jail beds. Officers are also now trained in-house, and several employees serve in leadership roles where they influence other sheriff's offices across the state.
Berry told the Oconee Patch at that time, there is no substitute for experience.
“I've done it. I've made the tough decisions. I have allocated the resources for the Sheriff's Office to keep our citizens safe. Everything else is just talk,” he said.
According to the article, Berry took office in 1993 after a career as a police officer in Norcross and the University of Georgia and later as an investigator with the Clarke County District Attorney's Office. He pursued a career in law enforcement following in the footsteps of his father, who was an FBI agent.
As Sheriff, Berry has had to keep up with new trends in law enforcement as the county grew. The expansion of retail development and growth of the Internet have brought more incidents of shoplifting, identity and property crimes to the county.
Under Berry's administration, a new jail opened to house the rising number of inmates after voters approved the use of about $4 million from a sales tax referendum to fund construction, as well as administrative offices and E-911 center. The total cost of the project was $12 million.
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