We appreciate Tony Stiles and the sacrifice that he suffered for our county. He is a true, selfless hero. We so admire Stiles that we made him our “Person of the Year” in 2012. We also want to make it very clear that this newspaper, nor anyone affiliated with this newspaper, ever brought up the shooting of Stiles as a reason not to support Sheriff Alex Hodge.
However, Hodge has given the voters of this county plenty of other reasons not to support his bid for a fourth term as Jones County sheriff. These reasons include orchestrating a publicity stunt raid on the home of an elderly woman and her war hero husband, who is suffering from dementia, and then humiliating them with a strip search, orifice check and perp walk — all for a misdemeanor charge. Not to mention that the sheriff illegally took their personal pets, for which he had no warrant nor basis to do so. The sheriff did all this without once talking to this couple, stepping foot on their property and, worst of all, not simply offering them help.
If that isn’t enough, this sheriff has also shown special treatment to the rich and powerful. We know of at least one powerful business person who was so intoxicated he crashed his vehicle into a tree, was briefly detained before being released by the sheriff’s department without a mugshot, a charge for DUI … not even a ticket.
Much like Hillary Clinton, this sheriff has used his political position to enhance his personal wealth. He uses taxpayer money to pay for his own personal press agent/campaign manager, he bullies people into early retirement, he stifles his critics on social media and he is trying to stack the deck on the Board of Supervisors with his friends so he can ram a huge tax increase down the throats of the citizens of Jones County.
There are plenty of other reasons not to support Alex Hodge for sheriff. As always, we wish Tony Stiles and his family all the best and we hope that the sheriff and his opponents will respect Stiles’ wish to not use his tragedy for political gain.