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A new home for the law in South Hall
Sheriffs office opens new precinct in Braselton
Sheriff Gerald Couch welcomes visitors to the grand opening of the South Hall precinct Friday afternoon. The precinct was renovated from a former day care center, with much of the work performed by members of the Sheriff’s Office.

With the snip of a ribbon, the Hall County Sheriff’s Office has a permanent presence in the South Hall area.

“This is a monumental change in the way that we do business at the sheriff’s office,” Sheriff Gerald Couch said. “We’re moving our base of operations out into the communities we serve.”

The department opened its South Hall headquarters Friday on Cody Drive in Braselton.

It’s the first full-service complex of the sheriff’s office south of Gainesville, according to information from the sheriff’s office.

The 10,000-square-foot building formerly housed a day care. Hall County bought the building for $700,000 with special purpose local option sales tax VI funds. Construction costs were around $130,000, according to Couch.

“This is a great investment for right here in our South Hall community because nearly two-thirds of our population in Hall County live in South Hall,” Couch said. “Hall County’s beautiful. It’s got a lot to offer and we’re going to see an influx of people over the next few years. This is one step, I believe, in the right direction to prepare for that.”

Work on the project began in April 2014, and is just wrapping up.

“We looked at it and decided this was the kind of building that we wanted,” Commission Chairman Richard Mecum said. “The sheriff and his staff have just done a tremendous job in getting this ready and prepared. I think it’s going to be a great asset for us here in the south end of Hall County.”

The new headquarters is near several major intersections as well as Flowery Branch High and Friendship Elementary schools.

It’s a full-service building, with the exception of firearms permitting and sex offender registration.

“But if you need to come down and speak with a deputy in any manner, file a report, pick up a copy of a report or any other business that you want to do, you can do it right here in South Hall,” Couch said.

Walking in, guests are immediately greeted by the community service officer. The building also houses a training area, fitness room and investigators’ offices. In total, there will be more than 60 employees based in the location.

In the days leading up to Friday’s grand opening, construction workers and employees are scrambling to finish last-minute details.

“It is quickly coming together,” said 1st Lt. Brian Pearson days prior to the opening. Pearson will serve as the precinct’s commander. “We’ve got some touch-ups to do.

“We’re trying to take care of things as they come up. Just little things, computer issues, this line’s connected to this line, we had the bathroom with a hot water issue ... things like that always happen.”

The new South Hall presence joins the sheriff’s office’s North Hall precinct in Clermont as the department expands its reach throughout the county.

“Long gone are the days where we could base all of our operations out of the city of Gainesville, and go out into the outlying areas,” Couch said. “Well, those areas are becoming more urban as well.”

Additionally, new headquarters next to the county’s government building on Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville are in the works, with plans to break ground in 2015.