Dougherty County Sheriff's report includes some surprising statistics

Feb. 20—ALBANY — During a Monday annual report to the Dougherty County Commission Sheriff Kevin Sproul presented a few statistics that raised eyebrows, among those the drop off in residents summoned to jury duty who actually show up.

In previous years about 35% of those who received summonses reported for jury duty, Sproul said.

"Now it's 20% who show up," he told commissioners.

The number of transports of patients with mental health or substance abuse issues was up significantly, with 431 transported last year, compared to 278 in 2021.

Those trips can take up significant time and resources as it requires two deputies for each transport, and the trips can take them to local destinations as well as Thomasville and occasionally Savannah, the sheriff said.

With court proceedings getting back into full swing during 2022 after the closing of courtrooms through much of 2020 and 2021, activity at the Dougherty County Justice Center, where the sheriff's office provides security, also increased.

Last year there were 18,861 court hearings held at the courthouse, up by 10,370 from 2021, the sheriff told commissioners.

Sproul also addressed other issues, including training, and he referenced the beating death of a man in Memphis, Tenn., that involved five officers who have been charged with murder.

"We see the same things you do," Sproul said. "The Memphis situation makes me sick to my stomach. We look at how we can (improve) training every day."

During the meeting, commissioners approved the purchase of three fire pumper trucks for use by the Albany Fire Department, which provides fire protection in the unincorporated portion of the county, from Ten8 Fire and Safety Equipment of Georgia at a cost of $3.02 million.