Equitable Sharing Program
The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office is a proud participant in the United States Department of Justice and the United States Department of Treasury Equitable Sharing Program for State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies. Throughout the years the Sheriff’s Office has participated in numerous federal task forces whose goal is to stem the flow of illegal narcotics into Fayette, the surrounding counties, the State of Georgia and the United States. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration as well as the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have designated the Metro Atlanta area, which includes Fayette County, as one of the major hubs for illegal narcotics coming into the United States.
It is the goal of the Sheriff’s Office to not only cut off the flow of illegal narcotics into Fayette County, but to take away and use the tools, proceeds and property derived from any criminal activity against the offenders. These seized tools, proceeds and property are ultimately a deterrent to criminal activity and an enhancement to law enforcement.
Guidelines of the Equitable Sharing Program
Under the Guidelines of the Equitable Sharing Program, the funds received cannot be used to replace or supplant the Sheriff’s Office's regularly budgeted monies. The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office must directly benefit from the funds or property received.
Also, under the Guidelines, the Sheriff’s Office cannot use any forfeited property seized for non-law enforcement personnel or use funds to pay education-related costs for non-law enforcement classes. Any violation of the Guidelines or compliance with the Department of Justice or the Department of Treasury would result in termination within the program.
The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, like all participants in the Equitable Sharing Program, must use funds received for the enhancement of law enforcement with an emphasis on training and narcotics detection. Within these guidelines, the Sheriff’s Office strives to make conscientious decisions as to how and where to use this funding to give the citizens of Fayette County a sense of well being and a law enforcement agency for which they can be proud.
Over the years, the Sheriff’s Office has had the pleasure to work with various local, state and federal agencies during numerous successful investigations. As a result, the Sheriff’s Office has been the recipient of millions of dollars and property which has been used for the enhancement of Fayette County law enforcement.
Through its participation in the David G. Wilhelm Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and the Atlanta Field Office of the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration Customs and Enforcement Task Force and other federal agency investigations since July 1, 2000, the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office has received over $12 million.
Through participation in the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office Tactical Narcotics Team, over $1 million has also been distributed to the Tyrone Police Department, Fayetteville Police Department, the Peachtree City Police Department and other local agencies cumulatively for law enforcement enhancement within their respective communities.
The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office Tactical Narcotics Team and Criminal Investigations Division also conduct various investigations which are prosecuted on the local level through the Griffin Judicial Circuit and the Fayette County District Attorney’s Office. In the past ten years these investigations have resulted in over $365,000 in forfeiture proceeds which have been used for Fayette County law enforcement activities.
Since July 1, 2000, over $100,000 of these forfeiture monies has been distributed to the Tyrone Police Department, the Fayetteville Police Department, the Peachtree City Police Department and other local agencies cumulatively for law enforcement enhancement within their respective communities. A portion of these monies was also remitted to the Fayette County District Attorney’s Office for their work and expenditures incurred in prosecuting these cases.
The Sheriff’s Office has been able to implement and enhance many community based programs, create and sustain various specialized units, attend specialized training and ultimately save monies for the taxpayers of Fayette County.
Among the specialized units of the Sheriff’s Office, except for personnel costs, ALL funding for the Aviation Unit is paid from the forfeiture funds. Purchase costs, equipment, annual insurance, maintenance and repair, aviation fuel, hanger space and off-site Aviation Unit office expenses are paid from forfeiture funds.
The original helicopter purchased some years ago was purchased with forfeiture funds. That helicopter was a 1971 military surplus Bell OH-58. Due to being out of service quite frequently and the difficulty of locating parts due to its age, it was replaced in early 2011 with a 2006 American Eurocopter AS350 B2 AStar. This helicopter was also purchased with forfeiture funds.
With the implementation of the Aviation Unit and the use of aerial patrol, the Sheriff’s office has been able to enhance how law enforcement officers conduct their duties. This includes coordinating the Project Lifesaver Program (uses frequencies to search for missing Alzheimer’s and other citizens), and the safe patrol and traffic enforcement of Fayette County for both law enforcement officers and citizens.
Over the years these monies have also been used in the initial purchase of the various breeds of canines which are used for narcotics detection, patrol and apprehension, and the Bloodhounds which are used for various types of searches. The K-9 Unit vehicles and the equipment installed within, which are utilized on a daily basis, have also been purchased with the forfeiture funds. Monies for these funds is also used to accommodate all costs to train personnel in the safe and most effective use of (and life with) their canine partners.
All equipment utilized by members of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team is purchased with forfeiture funds. This includes various types of firearms, ammunition, ballistic protection, entry tools, uniforms and other supplies. All specialized and technical training for the personnel who are assigned as members of the SWAT Team is incurred through forfeiture funding.
In conjunction with the Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team, through the use of forfeiture funding, members of the Crisis Negotiation Unit receive the latest training in the safe solution of various types of critical situations. With this funding, members are also outfitted with uniforms and equipment which is essential to the task.
We have purchased the equipment to implement an electronic fingerprinting system (Live Scan) which is used on a daily basis to fingerprint Fayette County citizens for required background checks for Weapons Carry Permits, Foster and Adoptive Parent Certification, and other various types of employment.
Tactical Narcotics Team (TNT)
The Sheriff’s Office continues to seek the latest and most effective equipment and training to conduct narcotics and other types of investigations. The monies from these funds have also been used to outfit the Sheriff’s Tactical Narcotics Team with the most advanced technical equipment available to allow the officers assigned to this inherently dangerous job an edge against the criminals they deal with on a daily basis.
Training received by the Sheriff’s Office includes various types of Narcotics, Vice and Gang Investigation techniques, Georgia Law, Search Warrant Writing and the safe execution of warrants, Crime Analysis, Budgeting, Sex Offender Registry, Computer Forensics, Robbery and Burglary Investigations, Interviews and Interrogation techniques, Crime Scene Analysis, Fingerprinting, Financial Fraud Investigations, Background Investigations, Internal Affairs Investigations, School Resource Officer and D.A.R.E. Officer Training, School Advocacy Training, Financial Investigations Training and Command Staff Training just to name a few.
All registration fees, course fees, meals, lodging and travel expenses associated with these trainings are paid for with forfeiture funds.
All costs associated with this website are paid for with forfeiture funds. This site provides a communications mechanism with the public and offers a means of providing important information about the Sheriff's Office and its services to the citizens of Fayette County.
A major project the Sheriff's Office implemented during fiscal year 2010-11 was an all-inclusive computer software system that included a new Records Management System, Jail Management System and a Mobile Data System. This system replaces two separate records and jail systems (which were not compatible) and adds a mobile data system to Sheriff's patrol vehicles. This new system will allow the sharing of information such as incident, booking and arrest information throughout the Sheriff's Office. The mobile data component will allow deputies to complete reports in the field without having to return to the Sheriff's Office. Supervisors are also capable of reviewing and electronically signing off on reports as they are completed instead of waiting until the end of a shift. Traffic crash reports and traffic citations will be completed electronically also. This will greatly enhance efficiency in these areas.
This efficiency will greatly increase when the Fayette County Communications Center comes on board in 2012 with their new Computer Aided Dispatch System. This system also allows the capability of sharing information with other Fayette County law enforcement agencies when they also come on board in the near future.
The availability of these monies has allowed the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office to become one of the most diverse, recognized, and applauded law enforcement agencies within the State of Georgia and the United States. The Sheriff’s Office not only strives to give its citizens a sense of safety and pride, but manages to make the criminal element pay for the training and equipment that saves taxpayer's money.