Meet the Candidates: Clayton County Sheriff

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Mike Tschirgi (R)

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

“I’ve always liked helping people.”

For Clayton County Sheriff Mike Tschirgi, that’s why he entered the law enforcement profession 30 years ago, and why he’s seeking a fourth term as the county’s top cop.

This year’s consideration to run admittedly came with a new challenge.

“When I took out my papers, we had just heard about COVID-19, and I thought, ‘What am I getting into?’” noted Tschirgi, a Republican who’s running unopposed in the Nov. 3 general election.

“But my experience helps, especially with COVID,” he said. “We were able to get the proper PPE and training.”

Tschirgi’s law enforcement experience began with the Guttenberg Police Department in 1990. He joined the Clayton County Sheriff’s Department a year later. In 2008, while he was serving as senior investigator, Tschirgi decided to run for sheriff.

“Some of my co-workers encouraged me,” he said. “They thought I could do a good job and knew I cared about the department.”

As sheriff, Tschirgi said he’s brought more communication and cooperation to the department, not only through working with local fire departments, EMS and government officials, but the public. He writes a monthly “What’s New in County 22?” column that’s published online and in local newspapers, and also oversees other news releases.

Another priority has been updating the Clayton County Sheriff’s Department’s policies and procedures, as well as making improvements at the jail at what he said was little cost to taxpayers.

“I’m also a big supporter of the second amendment,” Tschirgi said. “We’ve gotten people more gun permits. We’re running background checks to make sure those who shouldn’t have one don’t get one.”

In the next four years, Tschirgi said he’ll work on improving the department’s computers and software, along with assuring officers have up-to-date training and equipment.

Many personnel have been with the sheriff’s department for years. 

“You stick around when you like your job,” Tschirgi said. “All of our officers have a special talent, and they’re good in different areas, whether it’s drugs or sexual abuse cases. They make sure people get the help they need.”

The law enforcement profession has been highly scrutinized, particularly this year. Tschirgi is glad to serve in Clayton County, where he said compliments are often more common than complaints.

He and his staff serve an important function, including aiding other law enforcement agencies, patrolling county roads, overseeing the jail and prisoners and executing and returning all writs and other legal processes.

“Law enforcement is there to help,” Tschirgi stressed, “whether it’s solving crimes or keeping people accountable for what they do.”

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