BURKE COUNTY, Ga. - Former Chief Deputy, Lewis Blanchard recently announced his candidacy for Burke County Sheriff. Thursday evening, he unveiled his campaign and vision for the county to the community.

The former Burke County Sheriff's Office deputy retired from the department back in 2020, but he says he's not done serving.

"At this time, a fresh perspective is needed," Blanchard says. "I believe the sincerity, the integrity is extremely important and I think what I did for the citizens of Burke Co., when I was here as chief deputy, they loved."

Consistency, integrity and accountability are principals he emphasized as chief and will expand upon as sheriff, if elected in 2024. His candidacy comes three years after his retirement.

"Yes, I did retire," he says. "At that time, that's what was right and that's what was best. Now, I believe what's best for the county is to run for the office of sheriff."

His goal is to make Burke County the safest county around. He says, it starts with the youth.

"If we fail to educate, at $10,000 a year, we're gonna incarcerate at $45,000 a year, it's just that simple."

The career law enforcement officer would potentially replace his former boss, Sheriff Alfonzo Williams, who's recently been in hot water for his handling of funds, alleged harassment and a GBI investigation.

Mayoral candidate, Tyrek Scott believes a change is needed.

"The same approach had it's way for sometime...it's time to shake it up a bit," Scott says. "More police, patrol, more involvement in the community in ways..step in when needed. It's not always about gang violence, sometimes people just need help."

If elected, Blanchard promises an open-door policy to "keep Burke County citizens well-informed, foster critical dialogue, and build stronger relationships within the community."