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January 12, 2014

Murray sheriff's office looks back at 2013

While 2013 is now in the past, the Murray County Sheriff’s Office is still focused on continually moving forward. The Murray County Sheriff’s Office under the new administration of Sheriff Gary Langford and Maj. Greg Fowler has worked extremely hard and has a lot to be proud of during their first year of office.

Even though they have faced numerous challenges, they have focused on providing the citizens of Murray County with overall better-equipped and well-trained officers, consistently monitoring and adjusting the budget to save the county money by utilizing federal programs and federal and state grants, and participating in numerous community programs while focusing on giving back to our community and the citizens of Murray County.

When Langford took office on Jan. 1, 2013, his stated goals included opening the new portion of the Murray County Jail, assigning a detective to concentrate solely on drug cases, designating a public information officer to more quickly disseminate news and building stronger relationships with members of the public. Langford had the new portion of the Murray County Jail opened by July 19. The $11 million facility was completed in 2009 but stood empty because of funding issues; however, through constant determination and several adjustments to the staff and operating budget, Langford was able to complete his goal of having this new facility up and running.

During his campaign, Langford promised to fight against the drugs in Murray County. This year he has currently not only assigned one detective, but two detectives to work solely on the drug problem in Murray County. These two detectives have seized roughly 10-and-a-half pounds of meth and two-and-a-half pounds of marijuana, made 53 arrests, executed 37 search warrants and opened 65 drug investigations, seizing more than $70,000 in U.S. currency and 12 vehicles.

The public information officer was assigned to handle all special detail requests and needs of the community for special event scheduling and ensure that the citizens of Murray County were kept informed through Facebook and press releases of the happenings and needs of the Murray County Sheriff’s Office. The public information officer can be reached at (706) 695-4592, ext. 303 or 304.  

The sheriff’s office utilized several federal and state grant programs this year to provide the citizens of Murray County with better-equipped officers. The office participated in the Federal Excess Property Program and General Services Administration programs to obtain Hummer vehicles and M-16 weapons for official departmental use at no cost to the local community. The sheriff’s office also applied for and received roughly $50,000 in grant money for equipment to be utilized by the department including but not limited to body armor vests for every officer and traffic enforcement equipment.

Commitment to the community is very important to the Murray County Sheriff’s Office. Langford has made many changes to implement and improve community policing and educational efforts. One of Langford’s and Fowler’s main concerns is the safety and education of local youth. These young boys and girls are the future of the community. The sheriff’s office’s focus is to provide positive officers’ presence and educational opportunities in the schools of Murray County. Langford and Fowler have worked closely with the Murray County Board of Education to improve officer presence in all of Murray County’s schools and have achieved this by adding additional school resource officers among the elementary and specialty schools.

Another big change was the implementation of the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association’s CHAMPS program to provide an educational program to Georgia’s youth which will provide guidance and the skills, ability and knowledge to be safe, healthy and happy in preparation for a successful life. The program targets fifth grade and eighth grade.

Langford believes that community involvement and participation in community events is very important to build the relationship between citizens and officers. Throughout 2013, the sheriff’s office participated in several of the Go Murray Arts block parties, Trunk or Treat, Murray in Motion, Teen Maze, fundraisers and events for the Sheriffs’ Boys and Girls homes and Black Bear Festival. The office has also hosted the First Annual Back to School Bash and assisted with Community Christmas by hosting a food and toy drive.

Another thing Langford added is an Honor Guard program for fallen soldiers who lived in the Chatsworth area. These individuals are certified officers who are trained to provide funeral honors like gun salutes and marches for veterans. The services of the Murray County Honor Guard include any memorial event, including holidays.

Langford and Fowler have not only made a commitment to the community, but to the officers of the department by showing their support during events like MATEN II, the Mountain Area Traffic Enforcement Network, through the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and other local law enforcement programs.   

Langford and Fowler have worked diligently during 2013 to provide the citizens of Murray County with positive changes in their local law enforcement office. In order to adequately provide this community with the best law enforcement service possible, Langford and Fowler ensured much-needed training opportunities to the deputies of this department. The better-trained the officers, the better the service they provide to the citizens of this community. This year deputies received as a whole 5,662 hours of training for the 87 sworn personnel of the Murray County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office has also partnered with the Safe Kids Coalition of Dalton to ensure that our officers are trained to recognize the proper installation and use of child restraints that will, most importantly, help protect the children in our community. Currently, the sheriff’s office has 10 certified officers trained with Child Safety Seat Installation to assist the citizens of Murray County with information and installation of child safety seats.

Langford is committed to continuing to make the necessary improvements to this department, and making positive changes to our local law enforcement, by ensuring properly trained, professional officers are available to serve the citizens of Murray County. We are asking the citizens of Murray County to continue to assist us in making Murray County a safer place by utilizing the anonymous tip/information line at (706) 422-4066 and joining our Facebook page (search for Murray County Sheriff’s Office) to keep up with happenings.

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