It’s been a year and a half since Sheriff Alfonzo Williams took on the role to serve Burke County. He attributes all accomplishments to his team and the community.
“Any sheriff would be glad to have a 10-15% reduction, but we have a 52% reduction,” Sheriff Williams told NewsChannel 6.
That number encompasses both violent and property crimes… compared to 2015 and 2016.
He is bringing a different approach of law enforcement to the county…new task forces, programs and community engagement: “We started a vice narcotic division 18 months ago. They are working very hard. Our crime suppression team has added to that.”
In 2017, there were 3 murders. All, Chief Deputy Lewis Blanchard said, are drug related. That narcotic division has made more than 370 drug-related arrests during the past year.
Along with growth inside of the office, Sheriff Williams believes resolution… starts on the streets: “We are working with juvenile court with children who need to be taught values, respect, morality and decency.”
That’s where Camp Impact comes in… Mentoring youth that have been identified as at-risk by the court system or school system as “at-risk.”
“We host them for a 12-week period going through a merit of things like making the right decisions, life consequences,” Chief Blanchard explained.
On top of reducing violent and property crimes by more than 50%, Chief Blanchard said the number of cleared cases, or arrests made, are up more than 4 times the previous year’s rate. In 2015, 44 out of 555 violent and property crime cases were cleared. In 2016, 35 out of 502 cleared, and last year, 92 out of 277 cleared…. quadrupling that ratio of cases solved.
“We are all in. The sheriff makes it very clear that every single case that we handle needs to be like we are handling it for our family member or our best friend,” Chief Blanchard expressed.
Moving forward, Burke County Sheriff’s Office hopes to lower deaths on the road. Being the second largest county in Georgia, Sheriff Williams said 11 deaths is 11 too many… and he is glad the state passed the distracted driving law.
“We think that is one of the contributing factors, and so we have to step up our enforcement in that regard,” Sheriff Williams told us.