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Top Stories
December 9, 2004 Issue

Wrens Tree Lighting...
Children sit sipping hot chocolate while locals take photos in front of the Christmas tree in downtown Wrens during the city's lighting ceremony. The downtown area was lined with vendors selling holiday crafts and treats. Children had their photos taken with Santa. Betsy Milburn read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas the Rev. Jacqueline Mathis of Wrens Chapel AME read the Christmas story from the Book of Luke.




















Other Top Stories
Future of marshals discussed
Councilman allegedly threatens officers' jobs

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Future of marshals discussed

Sheriff and marshal consider merging two departments and covering both's duties

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

Jefferson County commissioners are on their way to deciding the fate of the Jefferson County Marshal's Department.

Their consideration of merging the marshal's department functions with the sheriff's office is a result of statements made by Marshal Alan Wasden and Sheriff Gary Hutchins at the candidate's forum in July when both men were running for sheriff.

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During the event Wasden asserted and Hutchins agreed, that the marshal's department should be absorbed by the sheriff.

Addressing the issue at the Dec. 6 work session, commissioners charged county administrator Paul Bryan with meeting with Wasden and Hutchins to review the various functions of the department prior to the Dec. 14 regular session.

Bryan reviewed a portion of the current job responsibilities of the marshal's department at the Dec. 6 meeting. Those include working with the magistrate court, tax assessor, tax commissioner and the county government. Examples of departmental duties included the verification of current manufactured home decals and assistance with collections, issuing timber harvest permits and verifying compliance, environmental inspections, alcohol license checks, moving permits for manufactured homes, serving civil papers for magistrate court and providing a physical presence in magistrate court and at county commission meetings.

The department currently employs two full-time and two part-time employees.

Hutchins said under his control the department would use only one part-time employee along with the two full-time staff.

When asked by commissioners, Wasden said he believed that county residents would be best served economically if the department was absorbed by the sheriff as long as other deputies were cross-trained to provide back-up when needed.

To accomplish only a transfer of dollars and manpower would be fruitless and would essentially change nothing, he said.

"Over the last seven years we have assisted the sheriff's office but have received none in return," Wasden said.

Responding to questions from Commissioner Tommy New, Hutchins said he would have one person in charge of the department to answer to the magistrate judge, tax commissioner, tax assessor and to the county commission. And responding to Tax Assessor George Rachels statement that the marshal's job is not politically popular, Hutchins said he was ready for the task.

"It'll sometimes be a headache for me but I think it would be in the best interest of the taxpayers to have it under one office," Hutchins said.

Commissioners will continue the discussion of the possible transition at the Dec. 14 meeting.





Councilman allegedly threatens officers' jobs

Albert Samples, present at game room when officers entered, felt personal searches were inappropriate

By Ben Nelms
Staff Writer

What began with complaints to Wadley Police about a game room at a residence several months ago culminated Nov. 28 with a raid by Wadley and Wrens Police and Georgia Dept. of Revenue Alcohol and Tobacco officials. During the raid at 243 Martin Luther King Boulevard, the apparent owner of the game room business was arrested and Wadley City Council member Albert Samples was alleged to have threatened the jobs of Wadley police.

Elton Williams III, 54, was charged with sale of alcohol on Sunday, sale and dealing alcoholic beverages without a license, sale and distribution of distilled spirits in a dry county and operating a business without a proper license, according to a Wadley Police spokesman.

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One of the more than a dozen individuals found inside the house was longtime Wadley council member Albert Samples. Officers at the scene stated that while conducting the raid, Samples created a difficulty for officers and "threatened the jobs of Wadley Police officers for doing their job," according to incident reports. When asked why he was present at the residence, Samples said, "I'm the Assistant Mayor and not a police officer," the report said.

Contacted Monday, Samples had several complaints about the raid. As for his presence at a location where alcohol was being sold illegally, Samples said he had no problem with the raid being conducted. Samples, who said he does not drink, added that he was attending a holiday party at the location and simply went there for the atmosphere.

Samples claimed that he was the only person on the premises to be patted down twice. He also held that the manner in which the female patrons were searched was inconsistent with what he believed were current law enforcement techniques.

"I feel like they were violated by being physically searched and by the way they were searched," Samples said. "Maybe there is a new law that I don't know about. I just don't like the way the ladies were violated."

Responding to Samples' assertion, Police Chief Paul Jordan said officers operated the raid and subsequent searches within state law enforcement guidelines. Male officers are trained to use the back of their hands when patting down females in sensitive areas, areas where weapons can be hidden, Jordan said.

Wadley Police said other charges are pending in the case.


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