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Posted: Monday, October 21st 2013 at 6:56pm

Clermont home for new HCSO precinct

By Marc Eggers Staff
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Mayor James Nix (L) & Sheriff Gerald Couch
GAINESVILLE The Hall County Sheriff's Office plans to open a precinct in the former Clermont City Hall.

"In effect it's not totally new," Clermont Mayor James Nix said referring to police presence in the north Hall municipality. "We've had an agreement with Hall County for many years to provide them with a precinct facility... so, this is kind of a renewal of that."

"But the biggest thing in it is they are planning to expand their time up there and the number of officers and all that would be available," Nix added.

Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch explained, "The only change in the agreement from previous years is that the location of the precinct...would move over to the current City Hall on Dean Street."

The Clermont City Council now holds their meetings in the Chattahoochee Center (former Clermont Gym) and city operations have moved to King Street.

"It's part of a much larger plan of putting a full-service precinct at that location," Couch said of the move. "We'll need a larger building (than the old location), and we'll be putting an entire patrol shift there along with supervisors."

"This gives us improved response times in out-lying areas in the county," Sheriff Couch added. "My goal is to put the deputies where they are needed most."

Couch also explained how the cost of opening the new precinct would be funded. "We'll be using some fees collected from Impact Fees...started back in 2002. I would anticipate probably using about $35,000 to $40,000 at Clermont to refurbish it."

Mayor Nix said that the building would probably not be fitted with jail cells.

According to the Intergovernmental Agreement Hall County would receive all monies related to fines and penalties assessed against a violator cited within Clermont city limits. The agreement has a fifty year maximum life.

"We think that the, you know, more presence of them (deputies) there will help deter anything that might go no," Mayor Nix said.


Hall County Correctional Institute Warden Walt Davis asked for the Commission's approval to participate in a program designed to reduce recidivism among inmates being released to our area following the completion of their sentences.

"We're looking to start a re-entry program for Hall and Dawson County residents," Davis began.

"What we have found...of those inmates returning to Hall County is that 70-percent or plus of those inmates have a substance abuse problem," Davis said. "By offering the residential substance abuse program to these offenders we're going to help them transition back into society with one less issue."

Davis said that during the nine-month long program employment and vocational services would also be offered.

Chairman Dick Mecum asked Davis if the inmates participating in the program were state prisoners.

"Yes, state inmates; convicted felons returning back to Hall County," Davis replied.

"We've gotten the (Georgia) Department of Corrections to agree," Davis explained, "to allow us to start accepting Hall County residents back to the CI (Correctional Institute), a new policy for them."

Davis said he hopes to run a hundred inmates each year through the program which will include Dawson County residents as well.

"I'm looking to place inmates in sustainable employment so that they can get out, keep their jobs and become law-abiding citizens."
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Gainesville, GA 30501
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