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Sheriff requests county become 2nd amendment sanctuary

Sherriff James Woodruff approached the Troup County Board of Commissioners Thursday with a request that Troup County become a second amendment sanctuary. 

According to Woodruff, Troup County would join more than 20 other counties across Georgia who are declaring themselves as a second amendment sanctuary. 

“I believe people should have a right to bear arms and protect themselves,” Woodruff said. 

“I think we’re at a terrible disadvantage. If we ever give up our guns and the criminals don’t give up their guns, they know you don’t have a gun. Guess what they’re going to do? They’re going to just walk in your house, and what can you do about it?” 

Woodruff told the commissioners that if he and the commissioners sign the resolution, it would affirmatively protect Troup County citizens second amendment rights, protect them against tyranny and always give citizens the rights to bear arms and protect themselves.

Chairman Patrick Crews said the commissioner will review the information and discuss it at a later date. 

“We would need to get some information about what that would involve and what that would mean for us,” Crews said. 

Woodruff asked the commissioners to move as fast as possible with the resolution. 

Also during the meeting, Denise Smith with the accountability courts updated the commissioners on how they are doing. 

“Addiction, substance abuse and mental health is sadly alive and well here in Troup County,” Smith said. 

The DUI/drug court program in 2004 was among the first accountability court. In the minimum 12-month program, participants receive drug and alcohol treatment. Additionally, all participants must also attend at least two self-help meetings, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), each week. 

In addition to treatment, participants appear before the State Court Judge Jeannette Little every other week for a progress hearing and submit to random drug and alcohol testing. 

Community service obligations must be completed and fines must be paid in order to advance through the program. 

“They have had 340 graduates of that program,” Smith said. 

“The DUI/drug court program is chugging along really well.”

Denise added the court recently went under a peer review process by the state and will receive new rules in the coming months. 

The mental health court has had more than 50 graduates since its inception in 2012. 

The mental health court program is a 12-month minimum program for misdemeanor cases and an 18-month minimum program for felony cases. The program involves extensive mental health evaluation and treatment plans, and each participant is required to attend all scheduled mental health appointments, counseling sessions, group sessions and take medications regularly as prescribed.

“Our felony drug court program is very busy right now,” Smith said. “It started in 2011 and we’ve graduated more than 90 participants since then. We currently have 51 and by the end of next week we’ll be up to capacity at 55.” 

Denise said that of the 55 people who are in the drug court program and actively following it is saving the county $2,475 per day. 

The family treatment court was introduced in 2017 and is the newest of all the courts.  

“We currently have 23 participants, and our capacity is 20,” Smith said. “Of those participants, there are currently 39 children being served.”

The family treatment court is designed to prevent unnecessary foster care placement of children and ensure an expedited return to a safe, stable drug-free home for those children who are in foster care.

“We have had four graduates since we started the program,” Smith said. “We’ve served a total of 47 children since we started the program. And what that means is 47 children in Troup County have been reunited with their parents after suffering substance abuse addiction issues.”

Smith said that the accountability courts are currently in the process of taking in donations for the accountability store. 

It is a way to provide rewards for participants of the family treatment court by providing them with access to low-priced items .

“We also would like to expand to another program next year,” Smith said. “That would be a veteran’s treatment court. The notice of intent to apply for funding has been sent to the state, and we will be submitting a grant application. That is an 18-month program, and we’re looking to serve 20 veterans in Troup County.” 

Smith said the courts will provide substance abuse and mental health treatment to the veteran participants. 

The Troup County Board of Commissioners will meet again at 5 p.m. on Tuesday at 100 Ridley Ave.