A year into Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman’s first year, the agency has taken a number of initiatives.
On Jan. 1, 2017, the agency had nearly 50 vacancies, the 2016 budget closed nearly $1.7 million over budget and the 2017 budget Sheriff Freeman inherited was over $1 million in the red on day one due to budgeting errors. By the end of 2017, the agency had hired nearly 40 new deputies and employees, and the agency is on track to remain well under budget after implementing strict purchasing and other cost controls. Even with such fiscal controls in place, FCSO has accomplished some incredible things, such as:
• Reopening the South Precinct. The fully functioning precinct is staffed by over 60 patrol and investigative deputies.
• A dramatic increase in the staffing of narcotics detectives, from two to eight. The unit has targeted drug dealers and has made over 160 cases for the sale of drugs in 2017.
• Worked with the school system to establish a timeline for staffing additional school resource officers. The department now employs 28 SROs in schools with additional deputies being added to elementary schools each year.
• Fiscal accountability: The agency sold excess luxury vehicles, including trading seven older Ford Raptor Trucks and Explorers for 12 new 2017 model Ford • Interceptor police vehicles at no cost to taxpayers. Net value to the agency was nearly $370,000.
• Regained national accreditation: Originally planned as an 18-month goal, FCSO was evaluated by a team of outside professionals in June. FCSO was awarded national accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies in November. The award is a blue ribbon seal of professionalism, proof the department meets and exceeds national best standards,
• Increased transparency: FCSO has implemented online crime mapping available to any citizen at forsythsheriff.org. Additionally, the agency has increased its social media presence and sharing of incidents occurring in the county to keep citizens informed. The office produces a monthly video recap which has proven popular with citizens.
“I have the best job in the world,” Sheriff Freeman said. “I get to go to work with heroes every day and I am humbled to have the opportunity to serve this community. We know our ability to perform is directly related to the trust our citizens place in us. We are blessed to work in a community that shows such overwhelming support of its public safety and we know we are the only ones who can erode that trust.
“Our deputies and employees work incredibly hard every day to keep you safe. We are not perfect, we’re human, but we own up to any mistakes. As we grow, we will face new challenges and trends as criminals continue to travel from the metro to Forsyth County. We are ready and able to face these challenges without losing the personal touch that makes FCSO and Forsyth County, the place to be in Georgia.”
—Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office