After taking heat in a federal lawsuit accusing him of gender discrimination, Sheriff John Darr promoted two women and one man in a small ceremony Friday afternoon. But the sheriff denies what many might be thinking.
"The reason these individuals were picked? Because just like every promotion we do within the sheriff's department, we're trying to pick the best qualified person regardless of whether it's male or female," Darr told News 3 during the reception.
Sgt. Linda Lee was promoted, along with Lt. Tammy Foster and Sgt. Edward Richardson. The promotions result from openings created by some retirees, according to Darr.
Lee has served the sheriff's office for 13 years, starting as a deputy at the jail and working her way up to metro narcotics.
"It's always hard being a woman in law enforcement," Lee said. "But for somebody who wants it, it's not going to be a problem."
Darr said Lee has distinguished herself from her peers, which is why he says he picked her.
"She's tremendous," Darr said. "She's done a good job wherever she's worked at."
The 28-page complaint against Darr alleges only one woman was promoted during Darr's first 21 months in office, while 22 men were promoted during that same time period. Darr has maintained the women holding rank in his department is in keeping with national averages.
Meanwhile, Darr has requested both an external audit of his department and a Georgia Bureau of Investigation probe. The GBI's inquiry wraps up Monday when Darr meets with investigators. The audit should conclude within a week.
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