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It was a difficult year on many levels, but the employees of the Sheriff’s Office have really stepped up and showed a level of determination and dedication that has made me very proud.

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There is no real “trick” to staying safe this Halloween. Just remember some basic safety tips and your holiday can be a real “treat.”

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Each year, I look forward to autumn and the opportunity for the Sheriff’s Office to thank the community for the overwhelming support given to law enforcement by hosting our annual “Building Unity in the Community” cookout.

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Last November, the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association conducted a survey with 76 of the 159 sheriffs reporting that they had lost more than 500 of their deputies to state law enforcement agencies over the last 10 years.

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I wanted to take this opportunity to share the accomplishments and productivity of the Sheriff’s Office during 2016.

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Whether shopping online or making our way from one location to another, it is imperative to be aware of individuals who may try to take advantage of you.

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Each year, I look forward to October and the opportunity for the Sheriff’s Office to thank the community for the overwhelming support given to law enforcement by hosting our annual Building Unity in the Community cookout.

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As sheriff of Dougherty County, I would like to discuss an issue very close to each of us — crime prevention. My office is committed to making our neighborhoods safer places to live. By doing so, we will improve the quality of life for individuals and families; both young and old. It is imperative that we seek progress to reduce the negative influences that crime has on our children and to help safeguard the elderly.

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Today, more than ever, it is important to have clear expectations whenever a civilian has an encounter with law enforcement. The vast majority of those encounters occur as traffic stops.

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Many students, now out on their own for the first time, feel they don’t have to do the things their parents may have insisted on, like eating healthy foods, exercising, getting enough sleep and avoiding drugs and alcohol.

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Spring is one of my favorite seasons of the year and it is right around the corner. Little League baseball’s opening day is a couple of weeks away. High schools are preparing for their regional and state meets, and men and women are once again returning to their favorite golf courses.

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I always look forward to this time of year. It becomes almost magical when the season causes us to re-focus our attention on family and friends.

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