Sheriff’s office called upon to enforce executive order

Published 6:07 pm Friday, April 10, 2020

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Sheriffs across Georgia, including Troup County were called on by Gov. Brian Kemp to enforce the shelter-in-place order that went into place last week.

Kemp announced this past Friday that he is deputizing sheriff deputies across Georgia to make sure they comply with the new order.

“It basically means that if we hear of people not abiding by the order, like the six-foot rule, then we will go out in an educational mode and educate those about it,” said Troup County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Stewart Smith. “If it becomes a continual problem, then we will contact the Georgia Department of Public Health, and with the assistance of the Georgia State Patrol, we will go out and actually do some enforcement action.”

According to the ordinance authorizing sheriffs to enforce the shelter-in-place, if Georgian’s violate the order they will receive a warning from law enforcement and also risk facing criminal charges if they fail to comply.

“We have had a few calls that our deputies have to go check out,” Smith said. “Or we are having to call people and give them guidance. But we have not had to go out and write any citations yet.”

Smith said that TCSO is helping the Georgia Department of Health any way they can and letting them have the reigns first.

“I really appreciate all of our municipalities,” said TCSO Sheriff James Woodruff. “I have talked with (LaGrange Police) Chief (Lou) Dekmar, (Hogansville Police) Chief (Brian) Harr and the Chief of West Point. If they get a complaint and its within their city limits, they can go out and make the initial contact for me and do an educational thing. We have found that you get 90 percent compliance when you just educate people and tell them what they can and cannot do.”

Woodruff said that most of the locals don’t realize that they are breaking the rules.

“It’s all about education,” Woodruff said. “Everybody wants to do what is right and I am so thankful for that.”