Wadley chief responds to Sauls’ letter
In response to the defaming and inappropriate letter about Wadley police in last week’s paper written by a former resident, Larry Sauls, I would like to clear up any misconceptions that he may have intended with his comments. As the Chief of Police, I have and will continue to address accusations directed towards the Wadley Police Department.
The business that he has spoken of was the victim of vandalism several months ago when an unknown person(s) threw objects into the front windows. At the time of the incident, I advised the owners to purchase a surveillance system or roll-up security doors to protect the business. The owners chose to use boards instead. Since that time they have not had any vandalism or property damage to their business. Had they purchased metal roll-up doors as so many businesses do to protect the store front in America would this also be a reflection on the effectiveness of our law enforcement? Any type of security device is always better than none. And I also applaud their ingenuity in protecting the property they own.
It is the responsibility of us all to take the steps necessary to protect our property whether it be with alarm systems, surveillance cameras, fences, gates or boarding up windows to prevent vandalism or theft. In any instance it is done to make it as difficult as possible for an offender to commit a criminal act. By Mr. Larry Sauls’ standards this makes the police department ineffective when a property owner decides to invest in their own type of defense against property loss.
Had I been contacted by Mr. Larry Sauls prior to the writing of his letter he would have been better informed and this would not have been an issue. But he has made comments against a department without first obtaining the facts or circumstances surrounding the issue he chose to address in this editorial. Blatantly insulting the integrity and qualifications of an entire department and its officers without any merit shows a lack of respect from a man of his professional position. (Judge not less ye be judged.)
I think our officers do an outstanding job with the limited resources available to perform the same task as larger departments. Every officer in the Wadley Police Department is qualified in accordance with Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council. Manpower strength requirements for a city the size of Wadley is 1.5 officers. At all times there are no less than two officers on duty patrolling the streets or within the city limits. The chief investigator and I live within the city limits of Wadley and at anytime one of us is available.
Departmental statistics show a drastic decrease in crime in Wadley for the past several years. Officers’ activities and incidents reported can be tracked by date and time with the computer system installed on March 16, 2009. Charts and graphs showing the decrease can be generated at any time for the public to visually see that Wadley is a great place to raise a family or start a business. A decrease in crime does not come from not doing your job in law enforcement. It comes from the help of concerned citizens and law enforcement working together to make our city safer for everyone.
Everyone knows that I have loved the city of Wadley since I started here over 16 years ago as a rookie officer. And since becoming the chief of police several improvements have been made to better serve the citizens of Wadley. We have purchased several fully equipped used patrol cars from other departments and received several free vehicles from other agencies. The total cost of every used patrol car purchased was less than half the cost of one new car being purchased. The city went over 10 years without having to purchase a new car. The used patrol cars were purchased using drug forfeiture funds to cut down on vehicle maintenance due to budget constraints. This was not taxpayers’ dollars being spent by the city, but funds set aside to assist the department with purchasing equipment, which is necessary to complete the mission of enforcing the law or responding to requests for help.
When Mr. Sauls lived in Wadley a few years ago, we had seven officers and cars to share between us. Currently every full time officer has an assigned patrol car to serve our citizens. This has lowered the maintenance costs for the police department’s budget for vehicles. It is the same in many departments across the country no matter the size of the city or department. Are we wrong for doing the exact same as other departments? Or should we lower our standards and quality of service to the citizens?
If anyone has any questions, concerns or issues feel free to contact me personally so that you are not misinformed by someone’s perception of the facts or lack thereof.
Chief Wesley L. Lewis
GCCS student honored
On Tuesday, May 7, the “shining stars” of GCCS took the stage before family and friends to be recognized for outstanding achievements they had accomplished this school year. To each and everyone, I would like to say, “Job well done.”
There is a special second grade student, Kaden Jenkins, that I would like to say “Congratulations” to. On honors night, he received certificates in math and spelling for having an A average in those subjects. He received a trophy for being on the honor roll this year.
I know I speak for everyone in the family and we want him to know how proud we are of him. Keep up the good work Kaden...we love you.
Barrow offers suggestions on reopening senior center
It has been brought to my attention that the Jefferson County Commissioners will be considering re-opening the senior center located in Louisville. Since I have been actively engaged at the center for the last five years, I would like to offer my comments about that project.
First, the senior center provided vital services in the community and because it was funded by the CSRA Agency on Aging in addition to the county the cost was nominal. Additionally, I wrote and received a grant for $5,000 to assist the center which is currently being held by the county. Very few projects in the Jefferson County budget have such a direct and profound affect on local people.
Senior citizens in this area currently have a very limited amount of places they can go for discounted meals, services, encouragement and activities that help fill the days of those in the twilight of their lives. Without such services, many seniors can and do feel isolated, lonely, bored and often neglect themselves.
I am sure that the county representatives are aware that reopening the senior center will not be a matter of just hiring a person five minutes before they unlock the doors. In fact, several serious issues and solutions should be addressed:
1. And aggressive promotion and advertising plan to encourage maximum participation and inform the public part of the reason the center was closed was low attendance.
2. A progressive and varied program of activities to increase attendance and interest.
3. Corrective Action Reports to correct deficiencies outlined in letters written by Andy Crosson, representatives of the CSRA AAA written including those dated Jan. 8 and Feb. 11, 2013. A comprehensive schedule of testing, training and drills to meet and exceed all future requirements for inspecting since failure to pass inspections was another reason the center was closed.
4. Enough time scheduled between the hiring of an individual to run the senior center and the opening for the employee to get adequately trained and familiarized with the policies and procedures. This will allow them to reopen the center with some possibility of success rather than a short-term hiring/opening with inadequate planning and promotion, which will almost certainly ensure another failure.
I am submitting to the county commission a list of suggestions for improving the senior center.
Thank you for your consideration in this matter,
Donate to the Jefferson County Natural Disaster Relief Foundation
The Jefferson County Natural Disaster Relief Foundation was established in August 2012. We are a non-profit organization that has a passion for helping those in their time of need. We offer services to individuals who have lost their homes because of floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, fires and other natural disasters.
I, Steward Leroy Richardson, am the founder of this organization. I am a native of Jefferson County and have been all of my life. I am a man after God’s own heart. I am dedicated to this cause as my heart was touched by the Holy Spirit to carry this mission out in the name of Jesus.
The purpose of the Jefferson County Natural Disaster Relief Foundation is to rebuild walls.
We are a non-profit organization. Just like all non-profit organizations, we appreciate any and all donations.
To make a donation to this cause, please send all proceeds to Jefferson County Natural Disaster Relief Foundation, 1043 Arrington Road, Bartow, GA.
For more information or if you would like to be a part of this organization, we meet the first Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at Jones Chapel Church, Bartow, or call Leroy Richardson at (478) 364-7660 or (478) 206-9000.
Steward Leroy Richardson
Steward Leroy Richardson