WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WJBF) — A $650,000 grant will allow the Burke County Sheriff’s Office to hire six new full-time deputies.
Sheriff Alfonzo Williams says the extra personnel will help with the services they already have. He says resources like this could be a step in the right direction to end police brutality.
“We’re having some of the deaths in this country against black or brown people because so many of these small towns don’t have community service divisions,” explained Williams.
After the recent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, Burke County’s Sheriff is pushing for law enforcement to be what he calls professionalized.
“People are going to keep dying if we keep giving some 22-year-old guy with a GED, $12 an hour, and he has more power than a judge sitting on a bench with a four-year degree,” said Williams. “That’s a problem.”
Sheriff Williams posted on Facebook of seven standards that he believes states should require law enforcement agencies to abided. He told NewsChannel6 reporter Devin Johnson, he sent those standards to Governor Kemp, The Georgia Sheriff’s Association, and The Georgia Police Chiefs Association.
“All those folks who are protesting and are mad, angry, and frustrated, push us to get some national standards,” said Williams.
There are 129 standards Georgia Law Enforcement Agencies need to adapt to become accredited. Sheriff Williams says right now, none of those standards require deputies to wear a body camera. Which Sheriff Williams says can be bad for both law enforcement and citizens.
“It becomes a ‘he said she said situation,’ and as a black sheriff, I’m pissed off about it and sick of hearing it,” said Williams. “If you want to know the truth, put a camera on them.”
He says he is pushing for body cameras and requiring every law enforcement officer in the nation to have a four-year degree.
“At least if you have four years of college, you get some time to learn about other cultures, and have an appreciation for other people,” explained Williams.
The Burke County Sheriff also talked about having requirements for extensive background checks.
Sheriff Alfonzo Williams’ full interview: