Multiple discussions took place last week amongst local law enforcement agencies.
During a special called meeting May 9, Midville Police Chief Clayton Green gave the council a quote for tasers and explained the importance of the devices. Officers should use tasers first over a firearm, he said. In response, the council voted to approve the purchase of four tasers and training cartridges for $11,368.80.
Green also introduced the department’s new Lieutenant Larry Young, new part-time patrol officer John Lanier and the new Information Technology Technician Jake Sasser.
Additionally, Green has stated that he wants to promote good community relationships with the police department.
“We will be offering vehicle unlocks to the City of Midville,” a May 17 post on the department’s new Facebook page reads. “Just contact the City Of Midville (City Hall) or the Police Department phone number if needed. Thank you.”
Sardis Police Chief Scotti Sanford said the city’s police department has hired three new deputies who need bullet resistant vests. It’s a liability issue, he said. If an officer gets shot and killed because they didn’t have on a vest, the family could sue. The council approved the purchase of three custom-fitted vests at a cost of approximately $1300 each from G T. Distributors.
“These vests are top of the line,” Sanford said. “A .357 Magnum will not penetrate them.”
Crime-wise, the City of Sardis is at an all time low, Sanford reported to the Council May 17. Statistics show that crime in Sardis is as low as it’s been since 1983.
Georgia House Representative Gloria Frazier addressed attendees of the Sardis council meeting as well, supplying everyone present with information about recent law enforcement legislation.
“House Bill 1013 was just passed,” she said of The Mental Health Parity Act. Signed by Governor Brian Kemp April 4, 2022, the law allows a peace officer to transport a mentally ill person to an emergency facility. Additionally, it allows for a task force to work with local governments to determine policy and funding priorities. It requires one trained behavioral health professional, to respond to 911 calls involving interactions with a person experiencing a behavioral health crisis.
“Our police officers are not doctors, they are not psychologists, but they have to make a decision based on that moment in their lives,” Frazier said and added that insurance companies will now have to pay for mental illness and treat it like a disease.
Sheriff Alfonzo Williams announced May 17 that Burke County Detention Center inmates are participating in “Project Green”. Project Green began after Detention Center Counselor Patrick Finney observed a similar program in Chatham County and recognized the potential for success here. The project consists of inmates working together to produce a variety of garden items that can be used to feed inmates or be donated to local food banks.
This year’s garden was planted by seven inmates and is now being tended to by three. Planted in the garden are cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew, okra, collard greens, squash, cucumbers, eggplant and tomatoes.
According to Finney working the garden provides inmates with a sense of accomplishment, lessens aggressive behavior and builds teamwork among inmates.
“Through the use of everyday tools of communication, teamwork, skillsets and problem-solving our inmates enhance their skills and prepare themselves for gainful employment and a productive lifestyle,” Williams said
Sheriff Williams hopes that once inmates are able to see and taste the fruits of their labor, they will be encouraged to avoid negative behavior and reduce recidivism.