By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Hall sheriff named to task force examining law enforcement training
Gerald Couch
Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch

A statewide task force to examine law enforcement training and standards will include Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch.

“I am both grateful and honored to be chosen by Governor Deal to serve on the Law Enforcement Task Force with such a diverse group of professionals,” Couch said in a statement. “As part of his law enforcement reform measures, I believe this task force will play a critical role in shaping the future of Georgia’s peace officers and how they serve the citizens of this state.”

Gov. Nathan Deal announced plans in September to create the task force, and on Tuesday he announced the members, which also include judges, legislators and other community leaders from across the state.

“Every day, law enforcement personnel of all levels and ranks are asked to do a very difficult job, one that requires significant skill and a strong dedication of purpose,” Deal said in a news release. “Protecting our citizens is one of the fundamental roles of government, and we must continue to strengthen the ties of trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”

Couch has 34 years of law enforcement experience in many areas, including detention, uniform patrol, narcotics, internal affairs, crime prevention and criminal investigations.

Referencing the county’s future firearms training facility, Couch said improving training has been a priority for him.

The FBI agreed last month to pay up to $1.7 million for the training facility that the Sheriff’s Office will also use.

“Now I look forward to collaborating with the other members of the task force to bring improvement and progress to our training programs statewide,” Couch said in a statement. “The end result will be a better trained, more professional law enforcement community, delivering a higher level of service to our citizens.”

Others named to the group include:

  • Verda Colvin, a Superior Court judge in the Macon Judicial Circuit

  • Eddie DeLoach, mayor of Savannah

  • Sonja Fillingame, city manager for Union City

  • Bert Flewellen, a senior policy adviser with the Department of Community Supervision

  • Tyler Harper, who represents the 7th District of the Georgia Senate

  • George Hartwig, district attorney for the Houston County Judicial Circuit

  • Vivadon Horton, a citizen liaison for the Georgia Public Safety Training Center Forsyth Regional Police Academy

  • Dan Kirk, assistant director at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation

  • Michael Persley, chief of police in Albany

  • Alan Powell, who represents the 32nd District of the Georgia House of Representatives

  • Mitch Ralston, sheriff of Gordon County

  • Pat Strode, Crisis Intervention Team program administrator for the Georgia Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness

  • Ken Vance, executive director of the Georgia Peace Officers Standards and Training Council  

  • Chris Wigginton, director of the Georgia Public Safety Training Center  

  • Scott Woodell, director of training for the Department of Public Safety

Regional events