SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Shalena Jones is making history in Chatham County. She is the first African American woman to be elected District Attorney. Last week Jones beat incumbent Meg Heap by a margin of a little more than 7,000 votes.
Tuesday, she told reporters that she is “honored and humbled to have the great opportunity to serve as your next district attorney.”
Jones won’t take office until January of 2021 but says she is already working on the transition. “I have begun to contact elected officials including the mayor of Savannah and some of the judges,” she said. “And in the coming weeks I will continue to contact members of law enforcement and other community stakeholders to hear what their input is as we put our transition team together.”
Jones served as an assistant district attorney from 2010 to 2014 although her actual trial experience has been questioned by some in recent months.
“The things people say during a campaign season aren’t always true,” said Jones. “I am absolutely proud of my professional experience, I have tried cases alongside many of the prosecutors in that office. If you were to ask a judge in that courthouse about my reputation and trial experience I’m sure they would have a very different story to tell.”
Jones says she worked in the District Attorney’s office as a special victims prosecutor and then went into private practice. She says she has served on the board of directors for Safe Shelter.
She says she looks forward to reconnecting with staff and proscutors and “contrary to rumors” has not intent of getting rid of any current staff.
“I’m not going into that office with any preconceived notions or ideas other than to build consensus and do a good job.”
She says says she does support some programs being used in the office but also hopes to work toward more crime prevention. There’s also COVID 19 which has caused fewer trials to be held.
“To the judges clerk and courthouse staff I look forward to working collaboratively with you to unclog our currently backlogged court system,” she said.
She said her Administration will have much to tackle as trials being to resume.
Jones does look forward to serving the community. “I hope in the end that we will have made a historical difference and a shift in how we prosecute cases and how we view criminal justice reform,” she said.