clear
Monday August 3rd, 2015 11:27PM

Stephens County votes 4-1 to add deputies

By Rob Moore Reporter
TOCCOA - The Stephens County Commission voted Tuesday night to grant Sheriff Randy Shirley's request for four additional deputies.<br /> <br /> But that vote was not unanimous. Like the decision during the same meeting to add a new road department employee, the vote was 4-1.<br /> <br /> Still, Sheriff Randy Shirley is pleased with the decision.<br /> <br /> Speaking by phone from a conference in Texas, Shirley said, "That 4-1 vote was very good. I would have loved to have had a unanimous vote, but I'll take what I have. That will give me four deputies."<br /> <br /> Shirley said he is pleased the community supported the sheriff's office request for additional deputies.<br /> <br /> "First of all, I want to thank the community for coming together, realizing that the need for new deputies was there," Shirley said. "We have put the message out over the past six months. We showed our need."<br /> <br /> Shirley said the county's first five-year plan for sheriff's office needs was done shortly after he was elected sheriff in 2009.<br /> <br /> "They've had that all those years, so we felt we had no choice but to go to the people and ask that they support us, and they did overwhelmingly," Shirley said. "Even though it's hard times, during hard times crime escalates."<br /> <br /> In 2013, Stephens County deputies responded to more than 22,000 calls for service.<br /> <br /> "One or two deputies on the street on each of our four shifts - because of the many, many responsibilties that the sheriff's office has - is just not enough," Shirley said. "When they get behind on calls, it causes them to take the priority calls first, of course, but for somebody to have to wait 20 to 45 minutes for a deputy is not acceptable."<br /> <br /> The new positions will take effect with the new budget on July 1.<br /> <br /> "The sheriff has been asking for some deputies for some time," said Commissioner Dennis Bell. "The way I look at it is if you're an elected official, as a county commissioner you're supposed to take care of the public and the citizens out there. That's one of my things I ran on was public safety."<br /> <br /> Bell has 24 years of experience in public safety.<br /> <br /> "I have talked to many people out in the community that have had to wait 30 minutes or longer for a deputy to come just to file a report," Bell said. "Some were for burglaries and they didn't know if the person was in the house or not, so I've got a problem with that and I think some of the other commissioners did, too."<br /> <br /> Shirley said it will take about six months to get the new deputies trained, noting most of the hires for patrol positions come from within the jail staff. Those who are not currently POST-certified will spend 11 weeks in the academy. <br /> <br /> "It takes a while to go through the hiring process," Shirley said.<br /> <br /> The department also requires an eight-week field training for new officers.<br /> <br /> "We want our citizens to be safe; we want our deputies to definitely be safe, because there's nobody to back them up on a lot of the domestic calls they go on," Shirley said. "Luckily we haven't had anybody injured, other than some on the road checks when folks try to get away, but I'm elated to have a 4-1 vote by the commission. They know the need, and the community is standing up and supporting us on this endeavor."<br /> <br /> Shirley said the new hires still will not put him in line with surrounding counties.<br /> <br /> He cited Franklin County, which has a population of 21,000 and has five deputies on each of its four shifts. Stephens County has 26,400 residents.<br /> <br /> Bell said the new deputies are overdue.<br /> <br /> "It's something that was needed probably a couple of years ago and he's just now getting it," Bell said.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
US stocks post sixth straight year of gains
U.S. stocks ended a strong 2014 with moderate declines Wednesday.
4:43PM ( 7 months ago )
Palestinians push ahead in pursuit of war crimes charges against Israel
Stung by a resounding defeat in the U.N. Security Council, the Palestinians announced Wednesday that they joined the International Criminal Court to pursue war crimes charges against Israel.
1:57PM ( 7 months ago )
Business News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 7 months ago )
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 7 months ago )
Sheriff: Man shot 2 on I-85 because he wanted car
A 22-year-old man shot two people who stopped to give him a ride on Interstate 85 in South Carolina on Christmas Eve because he wanted their car to drive to Georgia, a sheriff said Wednesday.
5:21PM ( 7 months ago )
Local/State News
US off war footing at year's end, but wars go on
Taking America off a permanent war footing is proving harder than President Barack Obama may have suggested.
6:13PM ( 7 months ago )
GOP leader regrets talk to white supremacists; party leaders rally around him
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
6:08PM ( 7 months ago )
Conviction of Putin foe sets off protest in Moscow
President Vladimir Putin's chief political foe was convicted along with his brother on Tuesday in a fraud case widely seen as a vendetta by the Kremlin, triggering one of Russia's boldest anti-government demonstrations in years.
6:03PM ( 7 months ago )
Politics
GOP hopefuls take on illegal immigration in debate preview
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — The Republican Party's presidential class demanded aggressive steps to curb illegal immigration, seizing on a delicate political issue while facing off in New Hampshire on Mond...
11:05PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Structural issues delay Clarkesville downtown redevelopment
Clarkesville leaders learned Monday night the downtown redevelopment planned for the east side of the Clarkesville Square will be delayed due to structural issues.
11:05PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Report: US-led strikes in Iraq, Syria killed 459 civilians
BAGHDAD (AP) — U.S.-led airstrikes targeting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria have likely killed at least 459 civilians over the past year, a report by an independent monitoring group said Mo...
9:09PM ( 2 hours ago )
Helen officials hash out city park changes
Discussions are continuing about the future of Helen Riverside Park.
7:57PM ( 3 hours ago )
Delta says it's banning shipment of hunting 'trophies'
Delta Air Lines had a major change of heart about shipping hunting trophies, announcing Monday afternoon that it would no longer accept lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo trophies.
6:34PM ( 4 hours ago )