At the April 19 meeting of the Dawsonville City Council, council members unanimously approved a budget amendment to fund two additional Dawson County Sheriff’s Office deputy positions to help provide coverage in the city.
According to Dawsonville Mayor Mike Eason, the extra deputy positions would supplement pre-existing patrol coverage provided by the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office.
“We currently are served by two zones that split the city east and west, and those officers have responsibilities throughout the county in their zone and backing up others,” Eason said. “So conceivably we could have two officers here at any time or conceivably we could not have any.”
Eason said that especially in the spring and summer, the number of events the city hosts would be made safer by the presence of the two extra deputies.
“The city is becoming more popular for things to happen here, from food truck nights to the grand opening of the park that’s going on to our farmers market which is meeting three times a week,” Eason said. “Because of these special events, we thought it was appropriate to try to look at trying to enhance our citizens’ protection a little bit.”
According to Eason, the two deputies would be paid for through the city’s general fund reserves and would work 12-hour shifts, seven days a week. They would be available to respond to calls for backup from other deputies in the sheriff’s office, but they would not be dispatched on calls themselves, he said.
“I’ve talked with the sheriff and we expect these deputies to assist the other deputies if necessary, so if a deputy on the west end of the county needs help, our deputy is probably gonna be the closest one to him, so they’re gonna go and help,” Eason said. “They’re not gonna not respond to a law enforcement need, but they’re not gonna be dispatched to calls.”
The job description for the deputies includes patrolling the city streets and city owned properties, enforcing city rules and regulations, attending and providing security at city meetings, being present for city sponsored special events, helping with traffic control in the city and providing a presence in city parks.
Eason said that two positions would require about $22,000 from the city’s general fund reserves for the deputies’ salaries and benefits, but that the deputies wouldn’t be city employees but would instead remain employed by the sheriff’s office to receive benefits.
In order for the two new deputies to be hired and put in place, the city will first need to procure an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the county and the sheriff’s office.
“This will not take place until the sheriff approves an IGA and so does the city and so does the county,” Eason said. “It won’t happen until that IGA has been signed.”
The new deputies will not affect or replace any existing coverage provided to the city by the sheriff’s office, Eason said.
Council members voted unanimously to approve the proposed budget amendment.