Croley named Georgia’s top deputy

Published 5:35 pm Friday, July 20, 2012

CAPTAIN LIZ CROLEY, a deputy with the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office, was recognized by the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association as its “Deputy of the Year” this week, at a conference held in Pine Mountain, Ga. Croley was nominated for her work for her participation as a member of a regional sex offender registration task force. Croley, at left, was congratulated by her boss, Sheriff Wiley Griffin.

The Georgia Sheriffs’ Association recognized Decatur County Sheriff’s Deputy, Captain Liz Croley, as the statewide Deputy of the Year this past Wednesday, July 17.

The award was presented to Croley at the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association summer conference meeting at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Ga. Croley was nominated for the award by the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office for her participation as a member of a regional sex offender registration task force.

“Every Sheriff’s Office is required to perform registration of sex offenders and ensure they are complying with state law and the terms of their sentence,” Decatur County Sheriff Wiley Griffin said.

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Griffin said Captain Croley has been working as a liasion with 18 other counties on behalf of the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association, communicating best practices for sex offender registration. She also helps other agencies set up websites and e-mail systems that the public can use to track where sex offenders are residing.

Griffin said he considers sex offenders to be dangerous, because statistics show they are more likely to be repeat offenders and because many of them target children as victims.

“The Georgia Sheriffs’ Association has worked with the legislature to create a zero-tolerance policy for sex offenders who break the rules,” Griffin said. “If they permanently leave their residence and fail to notify us, we will put out warrants for their arrest and make sure they serve the maximum prison sentence allowed by law.”

Croley said the deputies of the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office actually enforce Georgia’s sex offender laws more strictly than is required. By law, local Sheriff’s Offices only have to update registration of sex offenders once a year, within 72 hours of their birthday.

“Every time an offender moves, I go and see their new residence,” Croley said. “Periodically, I give patrol deputies a list of names to go check on. We also conduct quarterly checks and occassionally hold ‘roundups’ where we verify the status of all sex offenders living within Decatur County.”

Croley has been working with the Decatur County Sheriffs’ Department since fall 2005. Her job entails providing victim’s services for the Sheriff’s Office, working with the District Attorney’s Victim’s Advocate, registering sex offenders and conducting forensic interviews with children victimized by local crimes. Croley sits on several boards including the Department of Family and Children Services, the sex offenders’ registry board, and the child fatality board.

She also works with local youth through S.A.D.D. (Students Against Destructive Decisions) and through the 1-on-1 Mentoring Program, which has twice recognized her for her efforts to educate youth about Internet and computer safety.