Liberty and Long’s county sheriffs donated money to Georgia State Patrol Post 11 Thursday to help troopers keep drunk drivers off county roads by making sure the local GSP can afford to fill its patrol cars’ gas tanks.
"Our budget is so bad (due to state budget cuts) we’ve been reduced down to $330 per trooper per month for gas," GSP Sgt. Bruce Deloach said.
Liberty County Sheriff Steve Sikes authorized a $5,000 donation, funding which was obtained from drug asset forfeiture money, LCSO Chief Deputy Keith Moran explained.
Moran said a GSP trooper assisted sheriff’s deputies in a traffic stop on I-95 which resulted in the seizure of $5,000 worth of drug assets. The two agencies have cooperated on the Highway Interdiction Program, the chief deputy said.
Deloach and Moran said money received from seized drug assets can be used by law enforcement for equipment, supplies and training.
Long County Sheriff Cecil Nobles, with the blessing of the Long County Commission, donated a total of $1,800 so the nine GSP troopers who patrol Liberty and Long counties can fuel up when they patrol Long County roads.
"We have a real good relationship," Nobles said. "I want to see them (GSP troopers) continue to get drunk drivers off our roads." Nobles said lives are saved when the GSP can take even one dangerous driver off the road.
"This is another example of bridging the gap with our fellow law enforcement agencies," Sikes added.
Long County Commission Chairman Bobby Walker and Commissioner Wallace Shaw said the money won’t be a loss to taxpayers, rather it will translate as a gain because the sheriff’s department can then concentrate on other public safety issues, such as cracking down on illegal drugs and burglaries.
Walker said residents can request to see a record of the donation if they wish.
"We’re very grateful to receive these awards," said GSP Sgt. First Class Thornell King, post commander.
King said Post 11 is fortunate to have a good working relationship with the area’s county sheriff’s departments. Post 11 serves Liberty, Long and McIntosh counties.
The GSP will fuel up at Stubbs Oil Company Inc. pumps, which has 14 locations in Liberty County alone, said Stubbs Oil sales account manager Alan Rice. Stubbs Oil is based in Statesboro.
Deloach said the post will alternate its fuel funds, using the state funding first, and using the LCSO’s donation when patrolling Liberty County roads and, in turn, using the donation from Long County when patrolling there.