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Sheriff Couch announces new administrative team
2 positions cut in shake-up
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New Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch announced sweeping administrative changes on Monday, including a downsized command team that includes two relatively new faces.

Kevin Head and John Latty, both law enforcement veterans, will serve atop Couch’s team.

As major of the Administrative Bureau, Head will be responsible for operations at the Hall County Courthouse and the Hall County Jail.

Latty will serve as major of the Enforcement Bureau, responsible for the Uniform Patrol Division and the Criminal Investigation Division.

Contracts for previous command staffers Maj. Woodrow Tripp and Maj. Robin Kemp were not renewed, officials said.

“Both are contract employees of the Sheriff’s Office, and Sheriff Couch has elected not to extend their contract into his administration,” according to an official statement from the office. “These moves were not disciplinary in nature, they are simply part of Sheriff Couch’s desire to move the department forward with a new vision. Their years of professional service to this community are appreciated and we wish them well in their future endeavors.”

Tripp served over the Police Services Division, including uniform patrol and investigative services, while Kemp was head of Administrative Services, including records, professional standards, internal affairs, training and victim and witness advocacy.

Col. Tony Carter, another member of command staff, is retiring this month. He served as chief deputy, overseeing all major divisions and operations of the Sheriff’s Office. A fourth position, which was currently vacant, was responsible for Sheriff’s Services, including the Court Services Division and the Jail Division.

The decreased executive staff — from four to two — is part of a larger effort to streamline office operations, Couch said.

“It takes out extra layers of upper level management that I felt we just didn’t need,” he said. “It goes hand in hand with my plan to empower employees with the training and education that they need.”

Head takes the new role after serving as deputy chief for the Hall County Probation Services Department since May.
Hall County Court Administrator Reggie Forrester said Head has done an outstanding job there.

“He basically ran the day-to-day operations of our probation department,” Forrester said. “While we’re certainly proud of his new job, we hate to lose him at the same time.”

Capt. Patricia Lewis, from Hall’s corrections department, will replace him.

Head said he enjoyed that job but is looking forward to his new position.

“We’re kind of looking at trying to do some leadership development, be a little more proactive with employees and prepare them for advancement.”

Latty is returning to law enforcement after serving with the Gwinnett County Police Department for 25 years.

He is leaving his position teaching in the professional management program at Columbus State University.

“Gerald contacted me on the first of October. He asked me to meet with him, and asked would I be a part of the sheriff’s office with him,” Latty said. “I told him I was honored and would give him my best effort.”

“He’s very persuasive,” Latty added.

Couch said he and his new administrative staff are ready to serve.

“They are the finest public safety professionals that I’ve ever worked with,” he said.

He said their expertise will allow more in-house training.

“Members of the department are very excited about that — being able to train in-house at a higher level than we’ve been able in the past,” he said.

Couch will be sworn in by Gov. Nathan Deal during a ceremony at 3 p.m. Friday at First Baptist Church on Green Street in Gainesville.