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County recognizes LCSO for earning state certification
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The LCEMA meeting will be at the Liberty County Performing Arts Center.

The Liberty County Board of Commissioners recognized the Liberty County Sheriff ’s Office during their June 17 midmonth meeting. 

Chuck Grover, coordinator for the state certification program in Georgia, stood before the commissioners and said it was his honor to recognize the Sheriff ’s Office for their state certification achievement. “As you know, there are 159 counties in Georgia,” Grover said. “Of those 159 counties, there are only 25 Sheriff ’s Offices that are state certified. So the fact that they have achieved this is pretty special.”

Grover said it takes roughly two to three years to go through the certification process, and this is the local Sheriff ’s Office initial certification.

“This is something the Sheriff ’s Office chooses to do because they want to be the best they can be,” Grover said. “And that translates into not only you as the leaders of the community, knowing that this department is state certified, but also the citizens of Liberty County, whether they realize what it means or not. It means that this department is meeting certain state standards that cover all aspects of law enforcement.”

According to a press release issued by the LCSO, this commitment requires the agency to open its records and facilities every three years to a team of assessors from outside agencies. These assessors critically examine the agency by way of inspecting files and records, police vehicle fleets, communications centers, and evidence and property control functions to ensure that the Sheriff ’s Office’s policies and procedures meet or exceed acceptable law enforcement practices. Certification status represents a significant professional achievement for a law enforcement agency and acknowledges the implementation of policies and procedures conceptually sound and operationally effective. The certification program provides a comprehensive blueprint for effective, professional law enforcement.

The process of state certification is managed by the Liberty County Sheriff ’s Office Bureau of Professional Standards and is coordinated by an administrative assistant, who serves as the Sheriff ’s Office certification manager.

“My goal was to be the best agency in the state of Georgia, and this is another step of the hard work our guys do on a daily basis,” said Sheriff William Bowman. “I’m really proud to stand before you today to let you know we are working and we are trying to do everything the right way, and that is what I’m going to continue to do for this community.”

The board also adopted the fiscal year 2023 budget. The proposed budget, at $48,125,227 for the general fund, is a 13% increase from this year’s current budget of $42,531,456. The full budget can be downloaded at https://coastalcourier. com/.

Liberty County Elections Supervisor Ronda Walthour then gave a 2022 elections update. She said the May primaries went well and that they are preparing for November but also have to open qualifying periods for two open spots on the Board of Education — Districts 1 and 4.

Verdell Jones ran for board chair, winning the position but leaving District 1 open, and no one previously signed up to qualify for District 4 after James Johns Sr. decided not to seek re-election and new district maps were drawn.

“August will be the time we will probably do the qualifying,” Walthour said. “We are just waiting on the dates from the county attorney.”

John Culbertson of MSW Consultants again appeared before the board to discuss options as the county works toward county-wide curbside polycart collection service. At the March 17 commissioners’ meeting, Culbertson spoke about a plan that would eliminate the need for the various convenience stations across the county. At last week’s meeting, he presented some options to make those transitions more seamless. One suggestion was to start curbside collection and consolidate the convenience centers down to five locations. Another was to consolidate the convenience centers down to three “mega-centers,” and a third option was to start curbside service while simultaneously starting curbside bulk collections. Culbertson said the least expensive option is the third, at a cost of $5 million per year, but that it would cost more upfront, as the county would need to buy a new fleet of trucks for the job.

Culbertson said the next steps the county should take are collecting some statistical data from the households in the county, deciding what option they want to move forward with, and deciding whether they want to hire a private contractor or run a public operation.

The county will review the options to bring back before the board at a later date.

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