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 responsibilities mandated 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.

I recently returned from the association’s annual Summer Training Conference held at Lake Lanier Islands, July 23-25. One hundred 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 sheriff’s offices. Expert speakers provided training to the sheriffs on legislative and legal issues, cybersecurity, 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.

During the event, we heard from Gov. Brian Kemp, Georgia Lt. Gov. 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.

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; first vice president, Banks County Sheriff Carlton Speed; second 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; first vice president, Stephens County Sheriff Randy Shirley; second vice president, McIntosh County Sheriff Steve Jessup, and secretary-treasurer, Troup County Sheriff James Woodruff.

The Georgia Sheriffs’ Association Inc. comprises 159 elected sheriffs with the support of more than 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.

Being your sheriff is both my honor and a privilege. I promise to always do my best to stay current on the issues that challenge our community and work to keep every citizen safe. I greatly appreciate the support and prayers that have, and continue to, sustain me. Whenever my office can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to call our new number (229) 302-3600.

Sheriff Kevin Sproul is a longtime resident of Dougherty County. He is a graduate of Albany High School, Darton College and LaGrange College of Albany. Sproul has been employed with the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office since 1982.

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