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GSP training record mix-up has little impact in Northeast Georgia

Agency tasked with keeping files showed 121 officers shy of training requirements

POSTED: August 16, 2013 12:00 a.m.

Glitches with training documentation that hit the Georgia Department of Public Safety this week had minimal impact in Northeast Georgia, according to Capt. Tommy Waldrop with the Georgia State Patrol.

Statewide, about 10 percent of officers, totaling 121 troopers, Capitol Police and motor division compliance officers, were pulled off the job until authorities could verify they had the proper training. In Northeast Georgia, that was eight with the patrol, including one out of the Gainesville post, who was already scheduled to be off on Wednesday, Waldrop said.

As of Thursday evening, though, just 19 were still out across the state, according to Ken Vance, executive director of the Georgia Peace Officers’ Standards and Training Council, which keeps training records for law enforcement agencies across the state.

Gordy Wright, spokesman for the department, said it got word from POST on Tuesday about the issues. Officers were called in to help cover the shifts, though he was not sure how many officers that included.

Vance and Wright said the issue mostly came down to clerical errors, partly due to a switch to a new computer system. Wright said some of the discrepancies dated back 25 years. Vance noted that POST relies on agencies to report the information to it.

“Most of it was paperwork and miscoding and all kinds of crazy things,” Wright said.

The system POST used was 19 years old and paper-based, with documentation manually entered into a generic computer program. The new system, written for the agency and installed about two years ago, is allowing POST to better monitor the records and the agencies across the state to submit information online.

As to why the system was just now transferring to being computer-based, Vance said “it takes money.”

As the system was installed, kinks were worked out and historic material was loaded; POST is now working through each agency to get all its rosters in order and identify training deficiencies. Having the accurate information on file is especially critical when officers are called to court to testify about their investigations, Vance said.

Most agencies have just one or two who don’t line up with the requirements, he added, but for larger agencies and those with high turnover, such as the Department of Corrections, making sure everything is correct is a constant effort.

Vance didn’t have information in front of him, but said he felt confident saying the Gainesville Police Department and the Hall County Sheriff’s Office have very few issues with training discrepancies. Cpl. Joe Britte with the Gainesville police said he was not aware of any issues. Deputy Chad Mann with the Hall County Sheriff’s Office did not return a phone call from The Times.

POST will continue working through the records for the many agencies statewide.

“We’re trying to knock them out the best we can and make sure everybody’s squared away,” Vance said.


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