Thomasville council members address concerns over single agency - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Thomasville council members address concerns over single agency staffing drug squad

During a drug commission meeting on Wednesday, Thomasville city council members addressed a few of their concerns, one of which being the drug squad fully staffed by the sheriff's office. (Source: WALB) During a drug commission meeting on Wednesday, Thomasville city council members addressed a few of their concerns, one of which being the drug squad fully staffed by the sheriff's office. (Source: WALB)
THOMAS CO., GA (WALB) -

During a drug commission meeting on Wednesday, Thomasville city council members addressed a few of their concerns, one of which being the drug squad fully staffed by the sheriff's office.

The new policy where drug agents on the Thomas County/Thomasville Narcotics and Vice Division are only sheriff's office personnel went into effect last August.

Since then new council members have been sworn in, including former drug squad commander David Hufstetler.

And he believes the department should be staffed by both the city and county.

"A better working partnership with the city would, of course, be better... I would welcome that, hopefully, we can get to that," said Louis Schofill, Drug Squad Commander.

The question was raised at how the city and the county could recombine personnel for the drug squad.

"I think they should go back to the original concept which began back in 1980, I was the first commander of that unit for 12 years, I don't want to say it worked perfectly but I will say it worked better than it is now," said Hufstetler.

The decision was made to change the policy back in August, allowing the drug squad to only be staffed by county personnel.

The decision stemmed from a difference in opinion about Use of Force pursuits.

The police department's policy is that they are not to chase for traffic violations and misdemeanor crimes.

Drug agents say they just want to serve the community the best way they can, with the best personnel, no matter if they work for the city or the county.

They chase in situations where it is needed, felony arrests, or dangerous suspects.

"We are obligated that if people are committing crimes to catch them, the simple matter of fact is that if we don't then everyone will simply run, wouldn't you?" said Schofill.

The question remains, what can be done? The decision was made a year ago and still stands today.

Hufstetler said its ultimately up to the leadership of the departments.

"I think first and foremost the sheriff and chief need to sit down and talk about it. If they disagree I'm all ears but id like to hear what they think," said Hufstetler.

"I answer to the sheriff and the citizens of Thomas County. We try to do our best to the citizens of Thomas County who continuously call me, or call the sheriff and want help with drugs in their neighborhoods," said Schofill.

The city still funds the drug squad even though they do not staff it.

The costs are split 50/50 between the two departments.

Copyright 2018 WALB. All rights reserved. 

Powered by Frankly