State highway safety training deemed valuable

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Traditionally, limited funding has acted as a barrier for sheriffs and their command staff across Georgia who know the value of specialized highway safety enforcement training.

Barrow County officials have seen firsthand that the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, in partnership with the Georgia Sheriffs' Association, is working to overcome that hurdle.

A GOHS grant provided what officials call an important educational opportunity at the Georgia Sheriffs' Association 2012 Command Staff Training Conference in late April.

Three days of intensive training was conducted in Savannah for the upper-level command staff of sheriffs' offices from throughout the state.

More than 130 officers -- including sheriffs, chief deputies and top-level command officers -- participated. Among them were four Barrow officials, said Barrow County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Ryan Sears.

"The (conference) offers an opportunity for the leadership within sheriffs' offices to attain specialized training on highway safety, leadership development and current trends in Georgia, and to develop partnering relationships statewide," said Tonia Welch, Training Director of the Georgia Sheriffs' Association Inc.

The Georgia Sheriffs' Association Inc. is a professional organization that represents Georgia's 159 elected sheriffs. It relies on the support of more than 70,000 Honorary Members throughout the state who recognize and value the services provided by the Constitutional Office of Sheriff, Sears said.

In addition to services the association offers to statewide law enforcement initiatives, GSA also sponsors the Georgia Sheriffs' Youth Homes Inc. which provides full-time residential care for Georgia's abused, abandoned, and neglected children, officials said.