On June 29, 2015 Sheriff Burkhalter received a touching email from Lieutenant John Walters, Sr. of the Rome Police Department commending the Sheriff for the performance of Sergeants James Womack and Cynthia Baxter and Deputy Miranda Sheppard.
“On June 28, 2015,” Lieutenant Walters shared in the email, “we had two children ages 11 and 4 that left the babysitters home without permission. We had several officers doing a canvas search of the area in an attempt to locate the two.”
Floyd County Sheriff’s deputies “came to our aid before I had time to request the assistance,” Walters added. “They took to the wood trails near the apartment complex putting the heat off to the side and disregarded their comfort of the vehicle and worked hard to help us find the children. I know a lot of times the job we do is looked at as ‘well that’s something they are supposed to do it’s not anything special’. I however, feel it’s important to recognize the effort of others especially when it’s from a brother agency and not the norm of duties for them.”
“It took all of us coming together to bring this situation to a happy ending,” commented Sheriff Burkhalter. “I am honored to recognize Sergeants James Womack and Cynthia Baxter, Deputy Miranda Sheppard, and the other law enforcement officers that helped conduct the search. I commened their selflessness and responsiveness; it does not go unnoticed.”
Lieutenant Walters concluded his email by thanking the Sheriff and Sheriff’s Office for coming to the aid of the Rome Police Department. To that he added, “in times like today with all of us working and doing more with less, it is a relief to know we can count on each other.”
Eight year-old Natalie (pictured middle), a first year participant, said that she was looking forward to shooting a bow and arrow for the first time.
FCSO SPONSORED- KID VS WILD CAMP
On Tuesday, June 16, 2015, the SWAT and Bomb Squad made a visit to the Kid VS Wild Camp, a very popular Rome/ Floyd Parks & Recreation Authority summer camp sponsored by the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office. The week-long outdoor adventure is made possible by partner organizations including the Floyd County Wildlife Club, Redmond Regional Medical Center, the Department of Natural Resources and several others.
“This is our fifth year,” Deputy Jimmy Allred noted. “Every year we open sign-ups for the camp in April and quickly fill up. In fact, this year we have about 30 kids on our waiting list.”
During Tuesday’s session, our SWAT deputy showed campers SWAT tools and equipment and shared with the children the qualifications for becoming a member of SWAT. He explained that officers wanting to be on SWAT must run 1/4 mile with 60-70lbs of equipment in a designated time; bench press your weight plus 10%; perform 55 sit-ups and push-ups in 1 minute; and other rigorous requirements. Sgt. Nathan Blanton allowed the curious campers to tour the Bomb Squad vehicle and explore the state-of-the-art equipment. He demonstrated how the x-ray machine and robot work, while discussing how they are used in bomb-threat situations.
Kid VS Wild prides itself on being a safe option for summer fun. High school students serve as camp counselors, a volunteer nurse is on-site daily, and deputies of the Sheriff’s Office volunteer to help with activities and demonstrations. Support from volunteers ensures a 1:5 ratio of counselor to camper. Campers participate in fishing, archery, daily swimming trips, crafts, first aid classes, wild life identification and so much more. The camp runs June 15-19 and July 20-22 from 9AM to 5PM for children ages 8-12. For more information about camp wild visit: http://www.rfpra.com/Camps.html or contact Director Tammy Bryant at the Rome/ Floyd Parks & Recreation Authority.
On June 15, 2015 The Constitutional Officers’ Association of Georgia, Inc. (C.O.A.G.), represented by Sheriff Tim Burkhalter, Barbara Penson, Clerk of Superior Court and Kevin Payne, Tax Commissioner, presented Katelynn Waggoner Robinson of Adairsville a $1,500 scholarship. Miss Robinson met the C.O.A.G. criteria and will be seeking an undergraduate degree from Shorter University in the fall.
C.O.A.G. is a Non-Profit State Association that empowers its members to better serve Georgia citizens at the county level. Local members of C.O.A.G. include the Constitutional Officers from our county who are elected locally:
- Probate Judge – The Honorable Steve Burkhalter
- Tax Commissioner – The Honorable Kevin Payne
- Sheriff – The Honorable Tim Burkhalter
- Superior Court Clerk – The Honorable Barbara Penson
C.O.A.G. offered and awarded three scholarships this year- one for $1,500, one for $1,000 and one for $500. Scholarships are open to high school seniors and undergraduates who are residents of Georgia and who have a GED or high school diploma and will be attending a Georgia school in the fall of the award year. Eligibility for the C.O.A.G. Scholarship includes students who are citizens of The United States and Georgia seeking an undergraduate degree in a field related to government/law enforcement, political science, accounting/finance, business, or pre-law.
The Floyd County Sheriff’s Office launched a new automated phone system designed to better serve county constituents. The Automated Information Services (AIS) system deployed June 16, 2015. Securus Technologies, the service provider for AIS, has had much success with their product in various other jails across the country. AIS is the correctional industry’s first and only hosted Full Voice Recognition IVR system that automatically provides inmate-specific and general facility information to constituents with multiple features and information options. Securus Technologies reports a call satisfaction time of under two minutes with information updates provided every 15 minutes on AIS.
County constituents seeking information about inmates will be able to call the main number to the jail (706.291.4111) and access visitation policies, money policies, mail policies, medication policies, property policies, etc. Information can be obtained by using the inmate’s name or date of birth. A warrant verification system also allows constituents to determine if there is an active warrant for their arrest. Additionally, frequently requested information concerning inmate identification numbers, commissary, visitation, and bonding procedures can be obtained. Constituents can always choose to transfer out of the Automated Information Services to speak directly with facility staff at any time.
“We are very excited about this pilot project,” commented Chief Deputy Tom Deputy Caldwell. “We believe this new system will better accommodate the needs of our citizens. Without AIS, citizens have to call the jail and wait on hold until the jail operator is available. The AIS system has proven to save other jails a substantial amount of staff hours and make officers more available for other tasks. AIS will allow our callers to have their questions answered in a matter of seconds and our officers to focus on their duties; this is a win-win.”
The Floyd County Sheriff’s Office has designated a number of parking spaces at the jail facility located at 2526 New Calhoun Road as a “safe exchange zone” for online transactions and custodial exchanges. With the number of anonymous, online initiated transactions increasing, the sheriff’s office has responded by offering these designated spaces in the hopes of deterring crime.
According to Sheriff Burkhalter, “Our Safe Exchange Zone is designed to protect our citizens from becoming victims of robberies, thefts, and scams associated with online transaction sites such as Craigslist and E-bay. These areas will also allow parents to have a safe location to exchange children per custodial agreements or court orders and when possible, we highly recommend that citizens not make these transactions alone.”
Transactions may take place 24 hours, 7 days a week in the main parking lot across from visitation. The zone is clearly marked with a “Safe Exchange Zone” sign. The lot is well lit and monitored by cameras, however; deputies and employees are not available to participate as official witnesses, give legal advice or settle disputes.
Individuals may not buy or sell weapons, drugs or drug paraphernalia in the safe exchange zone.
The FCSO’s Safe Exchange Zone has been registered as a national Safe Deal Zone at www.safedeal.zone .