New sheriff takes charge in Fayette

The first floor of the Fayette County Justice Center was packed with approximately 250 people on Dec. 27 as Fayette County Sheriff-elect Barry Babb took the oath of office. Babb after the brief ceremony thanked a host of friends, family, fellow officers and other guests that filled the large area and offered a few remarks about his experiences and his view on law enforcement.

“It’s very humbling to stand here and look at these faces,” Babb said, then referencing his start in law enforcement in Fayette County a quarter-century ago. “Fayette County is not just my home. It became my life when I came to work at the sheriff’s office.”

As the years passed and his experience expanded, Babb said he began to realize the value in “investing in the other officers around you.” Babb said it was one day when he was in his 30s that he realized that law enforcement is a unique job.

Years later, after an unsuccessful run for sheriff in 2008 and a subsequent work assignment in the county jail, Babb said those experiences provided him additional insight. And at age 43, Babb said he took a job with the Atlanta Police Dept. “chasing crack addicts.”

Summing up his perspective on law enforcement, Babb said, “We run to the sound of the guns when everybody else runs away. To do this is a calling. It’s an honor to walk that path with these men and women.”

Holding up the Bible used moments earlier in the swearing-in ceremony, Babb near the end of his comments noted that while taking the oath of office with a hand placed on the Bible is not required under Georgia law, he had been taught that to do so was important.

“Whatever your belief system is, have a calling,” Babb said. “I choose this one (the Bible) because of a person in this book. These words beat inside me.”

Babb then quoted two Bible verses that he held significant. Both stated by Jesus, the words Babb holds pivotal are found in Matthew 22:37-40 and John 15:13.

The first reads: “Jesus said to him, ‘”You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.’”

The second reads: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”