July 20, 2015

Mike Cleveland, Hart County Sheriff, gave an update on crime most affecting Hart County.  He stated drug arrests have significantly increased in the last year and, unfortunately, violators continue a drug cycle.  Drug trafficking is considered 28 grams or more.  Drugs and monies are seized during apprehensions.  They are used in paying informants and other drug related enforcement activities.  

He reported burglaries are down; but DUI arrests have increased from 26 in 2014 to 63 to date in 2015.  The Georgia State Patrol is also reporting increased DUI arrests.  Responding to increasing DUI violators and 9 fatalities, both the Georgia State Patrol and the Sheriff’s department increased their efforts to deter and apprehend DUI violators.

Sheriff Cleveland advised he has successfully contained expenses under budget 14 of his past 15 years in office.  He reported the county jail houses 50 bodies and it is full.  The need to house prisoners at other neighboring county facilities has stressed the 2015 budget.  He also advised the county has an excellent well trained drug dog.  He supports the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association policy on the legalization of medical marijuana in ‘oil’ form only.  Leaf form for recreational use is not supported. 

Other specific points were:

a.   Crack cocaine and meth use are the most prevalent drug offense in our county;

b.   Children are exposed to drugs in school and drug use is across all income levels and households.

c.   Gang activity in Hart county is moderate; and loosely organized.                                                                                                      

A question and answer period provided lively discussion and concluded his presentation.