Local sheriff’s offices get funds to fight crime, drug abuse

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Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 6:05 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 16, 2023 at 6:20 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Two Georgia agencies are to receive federal grant funding to fight violent crime and drug abuse in rural areas.

Burke County

On Thursday, the Burke County Sheriff’s Office announced it will receive $100,000 in federal funding toward the Rural Violent Crime Reduction Initiative, which will support a two-year program to increase the understanding, capacity, and access to resources to implement the initiative.

The funds will be used for a crime analyst position within the department, along with training and consultant support, according to authorities. As violent crime continues to rise in many jurisdictions, rural communities are no exception.

The sheriff’s office states that rural law enforcement agencies must address violent crime while also navigating other challenges, including personnel shortages, expansive geographic territory, and lack of access to necessary resources and medical treatment.

Agencies may use funding and support to implement violent crime reduction strategies, improve investigations, enhance services to victims, increase collaboration between local stakeholders, and for other areas that support violent crime reduction in rural communities.

For more information about the grant funding and initiative, head over to the Burke County Sheriff’s Office website.

Washington County

The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council awarded Washington County Sheriff’s Office $231,652.00 to continue the Washington County RSAT Program.

RSAT is an evidence-based substance abuse treatment program started by Sheriff Joel Cochran and his team in October 2020 to assist in reducing drug abuse and recidivism. The first RSAT class from August 2021-January 2022 was 6 months of residential substance abuse treatment.

For 2023-2024, the program continues to allow participants an opportunity for rehabilitation along with time to spend developing additional skills for successful re-entry.

Providing services through the Washington County RSAT program affords inmates the opportunity to be rehabilitated while incarcerated. The program teaches them coping skills and gives them the tools required to succeed and to live as law-abiding citizens.

Implementing prevention-focused community policing is more than just empty words, it is deeply embedded in how he manages the agency and fulfills a 2019 campaign promise to “focus more on training with mental health and people with substance abuse issues,” Sheriff Joel Cochran says.

Since the program began in 2020, 29 graduates have completed the program. The Class of 2023 began on Jan. 09, 2023, with eight participants.