2017-08-24 / Front Page

Sheriff’s Office recognized as prototype unit in state


Registry Compliance Officer Captain Leighton Taylor, together with the assistance of Administrative Specialist Hitascha Glaze and the rest of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office were deemed a “Portrait of Excellence” by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s (GBI) branch the Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC) for its diligence and constant work on its sex offender registry, and were recently honored at a ceremony celebrating their efforts. Registry Compliance Officer Captain Leighton Taylor, together with the assistance of Administrative Specialist Hitascha Glaze and the rest of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office were deemed a “Portrait of Excellence” by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s (GBI) branch the Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC) for its diligence and constant work on its sex offender registry, and were recently honored at a ceremony celebrating their efforts. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office has received the honor of being recognized as the “prototype” law enforcement unit and has been deemed a “Portrait of Excellence” by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s (GBI) branch the Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC) for its diligence and constant work on its sex offender registry.

Registry Compliance Officer Captain Leighton Taylor, together with the assistance of Administrative Specialist Hitascha Glaze have been praised for their diligence in securing the Lincoln County Community by managing the registry. Representing the whole office, the pair was re­cently honored at an official awards ceremony for a job well done.

Not only was the department rec­ognized as ideal, but a documentary on the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Of­fice has been produced, and will be used as a training video to be shown to law enforcement agencies across the state.

“The GCIC recognized our offend­ers as being in compliance, we had no outstanding absconders, and our records were always current, which is what the GBI-GCIC wants – to see every program in the state look like this,” Taylor said. “The documentary explores our office’s operation, and of course it’s not just me and Hitas­cha who are doing all of this, but it’s all of the deputies, the jailers, and the rest of those with the office that make our entity run this well, and we’re thankful for them.”

Preceding the award, at the begin­ning of this year the agency was praised as being in “100 percent com­pliance” with its offender registry, reporting, and identification by the GBI in its annual statement.

The annual report highlights the activity of Georgia sheriffs and their compliance with identifying and making contact with individuals list­ed on the state’s sex offender registry and insuring their compliance

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office was given a favorable status, because every person required to be registered as a sex offender in Lincoln County was identified by the office – making it one of the few counties in Georgia to receive this status.

Due to constant vigilance extended by the Sheriff’s Office, the unit likewise received a SOAR grant in the amount of $8,226, which was submitted to the Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council under the GCIC for the purchase of a high tech, up-to-date palm scanner.

“It was awarded to us for the ex­ceptional program we’re running in this institution,” Interim Sheriff Sid Hatfield said, noting that 100 percent of the monies were received for the purchase of the scanner, and that it was not a matching grant.

This is an upgrade from the stan­dard finger scanners, as Hatfield ex­plained that full palm scanning is “on the horizon” for information acquisi­tion in law enforcement entities.

“Groundwork was laid out with [the late] Sheriff Bruce Beggs, along with Leighton and Hitascha, so they simply handed me the information and I submitted it,” Hatfield said. “A lot of places applied for this grant and they didn’t get it, so we’re truly lucky that we did.”

As groundwork was laid by Beggs, those with the office are glad to see his efforts come to fruition.

Hatfield also expressed that in the foreseeable future, palm scanners will be a requirement by the gov­ernment, so when that time comes, Lincoln County will already be ahead of the curve.

As the office will attest, operating a “100 percent compliance” program is no easy task –work to keep offenders constantly up-to-date is, to say the least, “an ongoing process,” accord­ing to Glaze.

“We work on it several times a week,” she said. “But it has a really good networking effect.”

In a process that requires regular check-ins and a continuous updating of offender information, data that is gathered is then sent to GCIC, since the GBI is over all the sex offend­ers in the state. Information is also placed on the Georgia sex offenders website.

In Lincoln County, Taylor and Glaze oversee the registry that cur­rently has 26 offenders listed. Within this, constant communication and understanding of the whereabouts of these individuals is of upmost impor­tance and priority to the duo.

“A big part of it is making sure they’re actually living at the address they claim they are, and that their ve­hicle information is correct,” Glaze said. “We take pictures of the ve­hicles, we make sure they have new photos taken of them, we get their fingerprints, every personal piece of information we get when they come in to register. We also make note of any scars, tattoos, or other markings that they may have on their bodies.

“We’re here to make sure that the information given to us is truthful, at least to the best of their knowledge,” Glaze continued. “It also involves is­suing warrants for failing to comply with giving us information, and the system also allows for the commu­nity in Lincoln County to access this information at places like City Hall, the county courthouse, or the board of education.”

In an effort to keep the community informed, those with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office have as­sured that they will defend citizens by continuing to operate at a high level of proficiency, exercising great altruism with an unwavering willing­ness to serve.

That being said, business will continue as usual.

“I think, frankly, it’s exceptional,” Hatfield remarked. “We may be a small office, but we’re proud that we’re able to compete with larger agencies.”

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