Sheriffs' Offices in Georgia have many responsibilities such as providing courthouse security, operating jails, transporting inmates and mental health patients, performing traffic and law enforcement functions, registering sex offenders and many more. Sheriffs are the chief law enforcement officer of each county and have many mandated responsibilities by state law. As a result of these diverse responsibilities, sheriffs must be knowledgeable of best practices and procedures in many areas. Current concerns of law enforcement as they relate to the Office of Sheriff are addressed during training conferences sponsored by the Georgia Sheriffs' Association, Inc.
Liberty County Sheriff Steve Sikes recently returned from the Association's annual Summer Training Conference held at Lake Lanier Islands, July 23-25. One hundred and two sheriffs from around the state participated in the three-day event. The sheriffs attended multiple training sessions, received timely information from subject matter experts and conducted Association business.
The conference was devoted to training sessions to update the sheriffs on topics relevant to public safety and the Office of Sheriff. Expert speakers provided training to the sheriffs on legislative and legal issues, cyber security, specific legislation to combat the gang and human trafficking crisis and the continued concerns with the issues of medicinal marijuana and the Hemp Farming Act.
The sheriffs heard from Governor Brian Kemp, Georgia Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, U.S. Attorneys Bobby Christine, Charlie Peeler and Byung J. Pak, and other state agency heads.
“The services required of the Office of Sheriff in every county of the state are critical to the safety of our citizens and are unlike the mandates of all other local or state law enforcement agencies. During this important training event, sheriffs convened to identify viable solutions to complex and costly issues facing sheriffs' offices and local taxpayers. Their participation is vital if we are to seek out the best practices in fulfilling these important responsibilities," stated Terry Norris, Executive Director, Georgia Sheriffs' Association.
Other highlights of the conference included the installation of the 2019-2020 officers for the Georgia Sheriffs' Association. The newly elected officers include: President, Lumpkin County Sheriff Stacy Jarrard; 1st Vice President, Banks County Sheriff Carlton Speed; 2nd Vice President, Turner County Sheriff Andy Hester and Secretary-Treasurer, Glynn County Sheriff Neal Jump.
New officers installed for the Georgia Sheriffs' Youth Homes, Inc. included: President, Effingham County Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie; 1st Vice President, Stephens County Sheriff Randy Shirley; 2nd Vice President, McIntosh County Sheriff Steve Jessup and Secretary-Treasurer, Troup County Sheriff James Woodruff.
The Georgia Sheriffs' Association, Inc. is comprised of 159 elected sheriffs with the support of over 70,000 honorary members throughout the state who recognize and appreciate the service of the Constitutional Office of Sheriff and the Georgia Sheriffs' Youth Homes, Inc.