Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office releases annual report for 2018

Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul presents his agency’s annual report from 2018 to the Dougherty County Commission on Monday. The office’s field operations included 9,630 warrant executions while investigators opened 358 new cases. (Staff Photo: Jennifer Parks)

ALBANY — An annual report from the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office shows a busy activity sheet during 2018.

The office’s field operations included 9,630 warrant executions, 19,821 civil papers served, 398 motorists assisted, 82 escorts, 6,849 security checks, 400 traffic stops, 82 citations issued, 35,125 calls for service and 326 transports, the annual report presented before the Dougherty County Commission said.

Investigators opened 358 new cases, cleared 172 cases and destroyed 702.8 pounds of prescription drugs. Sheriff Kevin Sproul said the drugs are largely from family members cleaning out the belongings of their deceased loved ones to find drugs that are outdated.

The automated fingerprint identification system had 1,030 cases, resulted in 583 identifications, helped in the examination of 3,714 pieces of evidence and 10,466 latent prints while contributing to 963 forensic reports.

The sheriff’s office handles sex offender registration for Dougherty County. In 2018, 601 offender residence checks were reported, 48 absconders arrested and 374 sex offenders managed per month.

Sproul reference to a Georgia Supreme Court ruling on March 4 that addressed the constitutionality of OCGA Section 42-1-14, which required, among other things, that a person who is classified as a sexually dangerous predator — but who is no longer in custody or on probation or parole — wear and pay for an electronic monitoring device linked to a global positioning satellite system, or GPS monitoring device, allowing the state to monitor that individual’s location “for the remainder of his or her natural life.”

The court ruled that this was unconstitutional, which meant three individuals in the county had to have their ankle monitors removed.

“We are working with the General Assembly to see if we can get that changed,” Sproul said.

The office has a crime prevention and intervention unit, which last year took part in 44 speaking engagements. The department held 51 CHAMPS — Choosing Healthy Activities and Methods Promoting Safety — six-week classes at Lake Park Elementary School, West Town Elementary School, Robert Harvey Elementary School and Turner Elementary School. The unit also conducted 128 interventions, 296 follow-ups and mentored 48 children in summer camp.

“We will never be able to measure the difference they have made,” Sproul said of the unit.

One hundred nine people were booked, 2,987 bonds processed and 1,353 people fingerprinted during the year. Court security personnel processed 98,065 visitors to the Dougherty Judicial Building and assisted in 18,287 court proceedings.

At the Dougherty County Jail, the average daily population for the year was 657 inmates. There were 7,469 individuals booked, 7,598 released, 1,062 transports to and from other facilities, 751 transports to appointments, 94,825 visitors, 11,423 court cases, 4,962 criminal background checks, 57 record restrictions and 3,827 urinalysis drug tests administered with 798 positive results.

The inmates contribute to litter cleanup on a section of the Liberty Expressway, collecting roughly nine tons of trash last year.

The sheriff’s office has a program allowing people to be released pretrial under certain conditions — with 185 being released under the program since its inception in 2016 and 13 of those individuals being re-arrested. Last year, 80 were released under the program and three were re-arrested.

Also under the Pretrial Services Unit, two people were placed in the substance abuse intensive outpatient program, and both graduated. One person obtained a GED and six received mental health services through Aspire Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Services.

The jail has a medical clinic operated by Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital. It had 4,219 inmates seen by nurses and 2,074 seen by a doctor or physician assistant last year. There were 4,733 seen by a psychiatrist and/or counselor, 75 sent to the hospital’s emergency center, seven admitted to the hospital and 316 seen by a dentist.

Like most agencies in Dougherty County, the sheriff’s office had a role in Hurricane Michael response, including pre-storm deployment and initial storm assessment, deploying additional manpower to affected areas, welfare checks, securement of heavily damaged neighborhoods, providing additional patrols, offering temporary quarters at the jail to responding officers and agencies, and manning of the Emergency Operations Center.

Sproul added that a 3.2 percent increase in revenue from 2017 was recorded at the sheriff’s office with a total of more than $1.55 million generated in 2018.

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Staff Writer

I'm a 2007 graduate of Georgia Southern University, and I've been a reporter for The Albany Herald since 2008. I cover news related to health care, Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany, SOWEGA Council on Aging and other areas as assigned.