Habersham Sheriff's Department Gets Financial Boost for Officers


Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell is thankful the Habersham County Commission heard his plea for raises for his officers Monday night, as his force now is down 21 officers.

Deputies and detention officers will receive an additional $2.30 per hour, which will put the county about mid-range in compensation in the immediate area.

0:20 {TERRELL: “It feels good that our county commissioners stepped up and they’re doing whatever it takes to take care of our law enforcement. It’s much needed. It’s much appreciated. I don’t know of a raise this high that I can remember across the board for everyone as long as I’ve been here – and I’ve been here since ‘95.”}

Out of 10 applicants in the past couple of weeks, Terrell says five did not pass the background check, one did not want the job due to the pay, and another did not show up for the required voice stress analysis.

Sheriff’s Major Murray Kogod says the across-the-board raises give the sheriff’s office the opportunity to become competitive so they can compete with other agencies and attract better applicants going forward.

0:10 {KOGOD: “It means the world to us. It says that they realize the hard work that the men and women of the sheriff’s office put in each and every day, and the sacrifices they make for the citizens of Habersham County.”}

Funds are available within existing sheriff’s office budgets to begin implementation of the raises immediately.

Baldwin’s new temporary police chief is on the job and already learning about the community.

City Clerk Emily Woodmaster introduced Jerry Saulters, deputy chief with Athens-Clarke County Police Department, to the council during Monday night’s meeting.

0:15 {SAULTERS: “This is part time for me. I’ll still be working in Athens, so I’ll devote 30 to 40 hours, whatever it takes, to help the City of Baldwin in finding the next police chief that will be able to be good for the community, the department, as well as for the elected officials.”}

Saulters is being paid through the city’s consulting firm, Excellence Exceeded, which will receive $1,000 per week for up to eight weeks while Saulters helps the city identify and hire its next police chief.

Georgia Pitts has been named principal of Clarkesville Elementary School for the 2021-2022 school year.

The Habersham County Board of Education approved Superintendent Matthew Cooper’s recommendation during Monday night’s meeting.

0:34 {COOPER: “It was our privilege to recommend and approve Georgia Pitts to be the new principal at Clarkesville Elementary School. Ms. Pitts has been serving as the assistant principal there at Clarkesville for the last six years. She has spent more than 20 years working in our elementary schools here in Habersham County. She’s a great fit for the school. The students, the staff, and the parents already know Ms. Pitts. I am very confident in her abilities. I believe she’s going to do a fantastic job.”}

Pitts replaces current Principal Patrick Franklin, who during the board’s April meeting was named the new elementary and secondary schools director effective with the upcoming school year.

And, a Boil Water Advisory remains in effect for water customers on View Street in Clarkesville. Residents there should boil water for consumption for two minutes prior to use.