Troup County Sheriff’s Office releases annual report

Published 7:42 pm Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Troup County Sheriff’s Office released its annual report for 2018 on Tuesday, which broke down the numbers of services and overall crime that the agency investigated last year. For the second year in a row, the TCSO had no reported homicides. 

Sheriff James Woodruff said Wednesday that the TCSO hasn’t had to investigate a homicide since 2016. 

Other part one crimes decreased from 2017, according to annual reports for 2018 and 2017. Eight robberies were reported in 2018 compared to 10 that occurred in 2017. Assaults decreased, from 254 in 2017 to 229 reported in 2018.

Forcible rape reports went up from 3 reports in 2017 to 5 in 2018.

Burglary and larceny thefts decreased last year. Ninety-three burglaries were reported in 2018 compared to 139 in 2017. Larceny theft decreased from 418 in 2017 to 347 in 2018, according to the reports.

Woodruff said those statistics decreased because of aggressive patrolling and educating the public.

“We’re constantly trying to educate the public [saying] don’t leave items on your car seat, don’t leave your purse on the car seat when you go in the store,” Woodruff said. “Keep your car locked. Make sure you’ve got adequate lighting around your house and [dead bolts]. So hopefully it’s a combination of both of those, good patrolling plus education.”

Motor vehicle thefts doubled from 2017 to 2018 from 33 to 66, according to the reports. Woodruff said motor vehicle theft is a crime of opportunity when people leave their cars unlocked and running in public.

“We have a lot of those in the spring and summer months out at the lake accesses,” Woodruff said. “People pull their boat out there, put the boat in the water, go out to fish and come back and realize their truck’s been stolen.”

Woodruff said to prevent these thefts, people should keep their cars locked and take their keys with them. 

According to the 2018 report, the TCSO had 88 use of force incidents occur last year, down from 115 that took place in 2017. There was only one deadly use of force incident last year, which occurred on Lower Big Springs Road in June.

On June 6, deputies from the TCSO responded to a call that a man had shot his wife on Lower Big Springs Road. 

When officers responded Robert Dale Sims was holding two guns in his hands. Officers told Sims to put his weapons down on multiple occasions, but he eventually started firing at them, and they fired back. Sims was later taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. Deputies later learned that his wife had died in a car accident 14 months prior to the incident. Woodruff said that incident was not counted as a homicide since the deputies used force to protect themselves.

“We were responding to his aggression,” Woodruff said.

Woodruff said the use of force numbers were down last year due to Crisis Intervention Team training, which helps police learn how to interact with those affected by mental health, and officer use of body cameras in the jail. Woodruff said the cameras are a deterrent for inmates to act out against deputies.

“When the jailer didn’t have a camera, it’s your word against theirs on if they did something or didn’t do it,” Woodruff said. “Well when you’re getting it on video, and they know everybody can see it, they’re less likely to jump on you or cuss you out or throw something at you.”

The jail division use of force incidents decreased from 93 in 2017 to 68 last year. Sheriff’s office use of force incidents decreased from 22 in 2017 to 20 in 2018. 

The narcotics division number of arrests increased from 158 in 2017 to 186 from last year. According to the reports, the number of traffic citations increased from 1,488 in 2017 to 2,824 in 2018. 

The TCSO received 17,781 calls for service in 2017 compared to 24,624 calls from last year.

The TCSO arrested 789 people last year compared to 574 arrests made in 2017. According to the report, the average inmate population at the Troup County Jail was 558. 

“I am proud to report this morning that we had a staff meeting and our jail population is down to 413 inmates,” Woodruff said.

Woodruff said the agency has met with state jail coordinators and is moving sentenced inmates to state prisons faster.

Woodruff said out of everything in the report, he is most proud of the 8,223 bags of loose liter the sheriff’s inmate work detail collected around Troup County last year. The detail also picked up 222 whole bags of trash, 361 tires and 117 dead animals and 77 appliances and furniture, according to the report. 

“Now when I’m talking about bags, I’m talking about the big 30-gallon trash bags not the little household kitchen trash bag, but the big trash bags,” Woodruff said. “That’s a lot of loose trash that these guys pick up every day.”

The TCSO employees 107 people, according to Woodruff.

“I’m very proud of our men and women who work here at the sheriff’s office who work hard every day to make Troup County a great place to live and work and raise our families,” Woodruff said.