GA Sheriffs look for action from state legislature - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

GA Sheriffs look for action from state legislature

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January 16, 2008

Americus-  Georgia Sheriff's are paying close attention to this year's legislative session. They hope lawmakers will give them more money for training, and fight attempts to eliminate or restrict Sheriff's offices.

When the March first tornado struck Americus, it was the first time many officers had dealt with a disaster of that magnitude. It's a good example of why representative from the Georgia Sheriff's Association made a trip to Atlanta this week, pushing for more training in 2008.

"I don't think you'll ever get enough training. I think your training pays off when you have something like our disaster," said Sumter County Sheriff Pete Smith.

Sheriffs, including Sumter County Sheriff Pete Smith, would like to see nearly $900,000 of Georgia's budget put towards training and for those trainers in Forsyth to come to rural communities for classes.

"We're also working to see maybe if some of the instructors that are up there can come to Georgia Southwestern, South Georgia Tech or Darton College and teach some of these classes it would be cheaper and I think more efficient," said Smith.

Sheriffs will keep an eye on measures like Senate Bill 22 that would increase the amount paid to counties who house state inmates and Senate Bill 249 which would better Sheriff's resources to track sex offenders.

"I've let it be known that I'm not going to tolerate anything. If they're supposed to register, they better register. They better let me know when they're changing addresses or moving somewhere," said Smith.

Their message this week was one of action, and they'll be watching state leaders closely over the next 40 days to make sure action is taken.

Dougherty County Sheriff Jamil Saba and Decatur County Sheriff Wiley Griffin also met with Governor Perdue and legislators in Atlanta.

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