Dougherty Co. Sheriff address use of force policy and de-escalation techniques

Dougherty Co. Sheriff address use of force policy and de-escalation techniques

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) -With issues like community policing policies and the use of force, Sheriff Kevin Sproul said his staff spends hours in training for the job.

Sproul said he knows that in the weeks since the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, there are many in the community afraid of law enforcement.

“Yes, we are going to have a man or woman that doesn’t agree with us, that doesn’t like us because we wear a badge and we wear a uniform that said sheriff on it, we get it, we understand it,” said Sproul.

Dougherty County Sheriff, Kevin Sproul
Dougherty County Sheriff, Kevin Sproul (Source: WALB)

Sproul said the sheriff’s office has an open-door policy and are very transparent. He asks the public to reach out to his staff about any concerns.

“As the sheriff, I am a constitutionally elected official. This office is not my office, it is the office of the people, and 90,000 people of Dougherty County, this is their office,” said Sproul. “The highest law enforcement office of the county belongs to them and we are going to serve them the best we can.”

Five years ago, Sheriff Sproul said the state-mandated for law enforcement to attend training classes on cultural awareness, community policing, and de-escalation techniques.

“So, we have been working in that field, for several years now. We have to have so many hours of it every year along with our trips out to the firing range,” said Sproul.

Deputy Pedro Cruz said he and his colleagues get together to discuss issues that happen across the nation with other agencies to prevent incidents from happening in the county.

Deputies at the DOCO Sheriff's office
Deputies at the DOCO Sheriff's office (Source: WALB)

“We try to talk with each other and communicate with each other, letting each other know what is going on because we have a family like the sheriff said, and we want to go home to see our family,” said Deputy Cruz.

Sheriff Sproul said all certified deputies qualify for the state-mandated training classes.

”I don’t want a man or woman who works for me to be hesitant and lose their life because one fraction of a split second and they don’t use the proper technique that they been trained to use,” said Sproul.

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