published Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Gary Sisk elected Catoosa County sheriff

Catoosa County sheriff candidate Gary Sisk takes a phone call after learning he won the runoff election Tuesday against Larry Black.
Catoosa County sheriff candidate Gary Sisk takes a phone call after learning he won the runoff election Tuesday against Larry Black.
Photo by Allison Love.

RINGGOLD, Ga. — Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office Maj. Gary Sisk will be new sheriff, defeating opponent Larry Black with about 55 percent of the votes in a high turnout runoff election.

“I’m ecstatic. It wasn’t a small number that decided [the race]. I think that’s big,” Sisk said Tuesday night. “I’m very humbled in the confidence the citizens have shown.”

Black, the former Lookout Mountain Task Force commander, didn’t return calls seeking comment Tuesday night.

Sisk will go on to the November election, but he has no challenger on the Democratic ticket.

Sisk has been with the Catoosa sheriff’s office for his entire career and has worked his way up the ranks for the last 22 years. Black, who has about 30 years law enforcement experience, has worked on and off with the sheriff’s office as well as with Fort Oglethorpe Police and with the sheriff’s office in Forsyth County, Ga.

In the Republican primary election on July 31, Black led by almost double the votes than Sisk with 8,796 people voting overall. With five candidates in the primary, including Catoosa County Manager Mike Helton, Sisk said he believed the votes were split, skewing the numbers.

Tuesday’s results show 7,385 residents voted, with Sisk receiving nearly 55 percent of the votes to Black’s 45 percent.

Some residents who voted for Sisk said they supported the chief deputy because he is informed, trustworthy and they agree with his stance on helping drug and alcohol abusers return to the community.

“I like [that] Sisk wants to rehabilitate repeat offenders,” said resident David Gilbert.

Other supporters said they liked Sisk because current Sheriff Phil Summers, who has been in office for more than 20 years, endorsed him and they believed he would run the office in a similar manner.

“I just like the way things have been,” said Lee Grant, a Ringgold resident.

Black supporters said he has the experience needed to be a good sheriff and they like his tough stance on crime.

“He has great experience and a vast knowledge of the law,” said Geradline Winbern.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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