A second local political action group born out of contentious primary elections has targeted Troup County Sheriff’s candidate James Woodruff with a mailer sent out Tuesday.
The information on the mailer, however, is false.
The flier, sponsored by “Troup Mothers for a Safe Community,” points to a 2009 investigation of Woodruff by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council after he was fired by Troup County Sheriff Donny Turner that year.
“The Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council revoked sheriff candidate James Woodruff’s law enforcement certification,” the flier says.
That never happened.
“The agency that governs law enforcement says he cannot be in law enforcement,” the flier says. It directs readers to the website, www.gapost.org for more information on Woodruff’s case, even though one has to be a registered law enforcement officer to use the site.
“The flier came to my attention this morning,” Woodruff said Tuesday. “It’s totally untrue. My certification was never revoked. It’s sad that people make these untrue allegations with a week to go in the election.”
Woodruff faces Turner in the Aug. 21 runoff for the Republican nomination for sheriff. Early voting in the race, along with two other runoffs, began Monday and ends Friday.
Woodruff was dismissed as chief jailer at the sheriff’s office after he allowed a female inmate charged with driving on a suspended license to leave the jail and go to the state Department of Driver Services in LaGrange on April 24 and to Columbus four days later.
Woodruff’s actions were “without proper authority,” Turner said at the time.
The action led to an investigation by POST and a recommendation by POST council that Woodruff’s certification be revoked. Before that happened, however, Woodruff appealed and was given a year of probation. His certification never was revoked and his probation ended in May 2011. A letter from the POST supplied by Woodruff confirms this and Ryan Powell, director of operations at POST, also confirmed Woodruff’s status Tuesday.
“To say his certification was revoked is entirely incorrect,” Powell said.
In the meantime, Woodruff actually was rehired by Turner shortly after being fired, and put in charge of the county correctional institute where he also received certification as a corrections officer. He graduated at the top of his correctional officer class.
Troup Mothers for a Safe Community officially was registered by the Georgia Secretary of State on Aug. 8 and Hilda Railey is its listed agent. Railey had no comment on the group’s formation Tuesday other than to say “they are just trying to get it started.”
Another woman, Debbie Davis, is listed as the group’s president. Railey could not immediately provide a phone number for Davis on Tuesday, although the woman is listed on the Secretary of State’s website as living at the same home address as Railey.
The “Mothers” group is the second political group to spring up in the primary election season. It is not affiliated with Citizens for the Future of Troup County and Railey is not a member of Citizens for the Future of Troup County.
The Mothers group could have other trouble. The flier circulated Tuesday includes the POST seal as part of its letterhead on the address side of the card. Powell said to use the seal of the state group without permission is illegal.
Any charges against the group would have to be brought by the district attorney or Georgia Bureau of Investigation.