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Hall sheriff adding a new position

POSTED: March 14, 2013 12:21 a.m.

Sheriff Gerald Couch is putting a new face out front at the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.

“The community service officer is part of my plan to put both the citizens and law enforcement working together as partners and improving their services. The CSO will be stationed at the front. They’ll be the face of the Sheriff’s Office,” Couch said.

Additionally, Couch has created a community service clerk.

“The clerk will be answering the main phone lines, so when citizens call in they’ll talk to a real person, and it’s more of an immediate service,” he said. “Hopefully it improves our service a great deal.”

Couch will announce those new appointments today, as well as several others, including an additional training officer and courthouse deputy.

“When citizens come in to file a report, or get guidance and direction on an issue, they can talk immediately with the community service officer, and any additional information on previous reports can go through that officer as well,” Couch said.

He stressed that while the positions are new, all hiring was within the office.

“All of these positions will come within the department already — we’re not creating any new positions. Consolidating the work release program freed up some positions,” he said.

On Feb. 21, Couch directed the reallocation of the male and female work release program to be housed in extra space in the Hall County Jail.

Sheriff’s office spokesman Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks said the new CSO will allow officers, who normally had to be taken off patrol to take reports to stay in the field.

“It takes some of the burden of patrol; some of the first responders can stay out there on the streets available for calls,” Wilbanks said.

Wilbanks himself is getting a sort of backup, he said.

“The CSO can also fulfill crime prevention duties as backup public information officer,” he said.

Couch said construction of the community service office is being funded by seized money — not taxpayer dollars — with labor from inmates and work release participants.

He expects that once the necessary parts arrive, construction should take little time.

“We have already been cleaning out the office and getting it ready for preparation,” Couch said. “We’ve ordered the window that will be installed for the service desk with glass. It should be in within the next few weeks, and once we get the window, it shouldn’t take that long to construct, maybe a week — two weeks.”

Couch said the new position is all part of his vision for better customer service within an unchanged budget.

“We have good competent people for these jobs,” Couch stressed. “We want all of these reallocations to best fit the needs of the community without adding cost.”


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