FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — As the new Fosyth County Sheriff transition is complete, Sheriff Duane
Piper says his campaign promises will be a priority in the days, months and years ahead.
Piper said in moving forward, his priorities in restructuring the office are to ensure continued emphasis on the efficiency and effectiveness of his agency.
“There are some improvements we can make in our effectiveness and we will be making them,” Piper said. “But the biggest impact I’ll be making is the efficiency in which we do things. We will be working on a restructuring on a 30, 90 and 120-day plan aimed at efficiency.”
Piper said observing and scrutinizing everything the sheriff’s office does: purchasing, fleet maintenance, investigative duties, courthouse duties down to office supplies.
We will be adjusting all of it to cut costs and and be more effective at the same time we are becoming more efficient,” Piper said. “The agency, the way it exists now, was created in the mid-2000s, which was a big boom time and not a lot of thought was given to efficiency. No one was concerned with how much anything cost at the time and that has changed.”
Business and neighborhood watch programs will not be discontinued.
Piper said there will be more communication between neighboring communities and businesses, patrol deputies and criminal investigation unit.
Arrest numbers have gone down, Piper said, and that can mean effectiveness needs to be improved or incidents have decreased. But on the incline is the number of traffic fatalities. Last year, the number of traffic related fatalities increased significantly, he said.
“We are crunching those numbers right now,” Piper said.
Piper said another of his campaign promises was to increase the number of deputies at schools. He said he will follow up on that promise by the end of this month.
“With the school resource officers, we will be doubling the number of those,” Piper said.
Piper said the sheriff’s office is advertising internally to seek deputies who want to work at the schools.
“The ones who want to go over, will go through an outside evaluation, aimed at ensuring they are suited to work in an environment with children,” Piper said. “Not only do we need the desire, we need the suitability.”
Piper said his office is working with the school safety standards on how best to fill the new duties.
North and South precinct commanders have also been reminding their deputies to be around the schools and get to know the administration without being intrusive.
“We want the students, the children and the staff to feel safe, but comfortable,” Piper said.
The Forsyth County School Superintendent Dr. L.C. “Buster” Evans said he is in talks with Piper and the number of school resource officers will increase from seven to 14 to cover middle and high schools.
“We look forward to continuing to work alongside these law enforcement professionals,” Evans said.
A Forsyth County School Safety Committee, comprised of local and state law enforcement, school officials and first responders will meet throughout the year to discuss and plan for school safety.
Piper said with the elementary schools, the deputies and his command staff are encouraged to develop relationships with school leaders.
“That adds to the investment in the schools,” Piper said. “We have property to protect, people to protect, but we also have schools to protect.”