By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Court services division honored by domestic violence task force
Deputies recognized for handling 'important and dangerous orders'
1005DOMESTIC 0006
The Hall County Sheriff's Office Court Services Division, including Dep. Michael Crook, Senior Sgt. Tim Couch, Dep. Jeff Hubbard, Dep. Russell Rungruang, Dep. Wes Pitzer and Dep. John Barnes were recognized Tuesday as the "2016 Domestic Violence Officers of the Year." - photo by Erin O. Smith

Breaking from tradition, the Domestic Violence Officer of the Year award went home Tuesday with six deputies tasked with the “most important and dangerous orders” for the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.

The Hall County Domestic Violence Task Force honored the Sheriff’s Office’s court services division, which serves civil papers and temporary protective orders.

“These are one of the most important and dangerous orders that the department handles. You’re going and taking a man’s guns from him,” Deputy Russell Rungruang said. “You’re taking his children from him. You’re kicking him out of his house, and it goes both ways.”

The six deputies include Rungruang, Jeff Hubbard, John Barnes, Michael Crook, Rusty Blalock and Wes Pitzer. The deputies accepted the award along with Capt. Chris Matthews, 1st. Lt. Cindy Mustachio and Senior Sgt. Tim Couch.

“It felt nice to be appreciated for something that is our duty and our job that we take very seriously here,” Pitzer said.

Matthews said the division serves more than a 1,000 civil papers each month, which include subpoenas, evictions and other documents. The captain said the deputies serve eight to 10 of the protective orders each month.

“We pride ourselves on getting that done the minute it comes down here. It’s one of those things that we call people off the road and pretty much stop everything,” Couch said.

At least two deputies travel on each call, and the number can increase based on the severity or inherent danger perceived, Couch said.

“We’ve had all kind of threats made that they’ve told us about,” he said. “He’s heavily armed. He’s going to shoot the first law enforcement officer that’s out there.”

The deputies said that one key section of serving the protective order is answering all the questions and concerns for a person receiving the paperwork. Those facing the order are given a court date to come before a judge and seek modifications.

“The biggest emotion comes out when it gets to the part of they can’t see their kids. And all they hear is, ‘I can’t see my kids.’ … You really got to use the word ‘temporary’ a good 10 or 15 times to really sink in to them that this is not a permanent thing,” Crook said.

Regional events