Sheriff talks to Board of Commissioners about joining Pataula Drug Task Force

Published 8:04 pm Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Decatur County Sheriff Wiley Griffin approached the Board of Commissioners Tuesday to discuss the possibility of the DCSO joining the Pataula Drug Task Force, a multi-county team designed for better drug enforcement and access to more resources.

The Pataula Drug Task Force is supervised by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations and is based in Colquitt, Georgia.

According to Griffin, the task force is currently being reformulated and will include new agents like GBI special agent and Bainbridge resident Mike Walsingham.

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“There are several advantages to joining the GBI supervised Pataula Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force,” Griffin said in a letter addressed to the Board of Commissioners. “Among those advantages are a more comprehensive approach to drug enforcement inside Decatur County, utilization of GBI resources as well as resources of the other agencies to share the cost/burden of drug enforcements.”

Griffin also explained that there would be a reduction of overtime at the DCSO for investigation of drug related cases, with the majority of the overtime work being done by the task force.

“DCSO has always done its own drug investigations,” Griffin said. “We have never been a member of a drug squad.”

Griffin said the cost of joining would be $2,600, which would come out of the DCSO budget. He would only commit to one year, he added.

Decatur County attorney Bruce Kirbo said the Association of County Commissioners issued a publication to warn counties in Georgia about the language in contracts with some task force units, and even came out with model language they would recommend be included in contracts.

“The documents that are presently in place for this task force do not include any of that model language,” Kirbo said. “If we decide to move forward, there will certainly be some negations I would recommend goes into that language before the county signs off on it.”

Griffin said he wanted to make sure Decatur County was protected.

“Whatever time it takes, we’ll take the time to get the language right,” Griffin said.

Commissioner Russell Smith said that as soon as the other counties involved have given a thumbs up on the language in the contract, the task force would be added again to the county agenda.